Let’s Taco Bout Mattitaco

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

You’ve seen him on the road, literally.

Justin Schwartz is the master chef that runs the On The Road food truck (formerly Noah’s On The Road). Then, he opened up a brick-and-mortar location, Mattitaco, that has become the go-to spot in Mattituck.

As the food truck continues to roll on in popularity, the cozy 840-square-foot location at 10560 Main Road promises an oasis of choices for those who continue to discover the eatery.

“It’s amazing how many people will come in from around the corner and tell us they had no idea we were here,” Schwartz said of his location, which opened in June 2018. Schwartz said he considers Mattitaco a grab-and-go establishment, however, the space accommodates 30 patrons outside, 12 seated inside, and 16 people at the countertop bar.

A taco spot wasn’t the original plan, but then a regular at Corey Creek Vineyard approached the food truck suggesting they should open a taco shop in Mattituck and suggested the name “Mattitaco” to honor the community. “Some people come in and ask where is Matt? Of Mattitaco. Locals too. And I laugh and remind them it’s Mattituck and taco,” Schwartz said with a smile.

The menu features a variety of tacos, so here are some suggestions. To keep things in the family, bite into the Korean taco, featuring Schwartz’s mother Pennie Schwartz’s kimchi recipe, with hoisin-glazed pork belly, sriracha, and samba aioli. Locals might be particularly intrigued to know that Pennie is also an integral part of Slow Food East End. Next in line would have to be the Scallops n’ Bacon, with Shinnecock sea scallops, applewood smoked bacon, and cilantro lime aioli — a little surf and turf. Vegetarian? Go guilt free with the Shrooms taco of confit shiitake and oyster mushrooms, diced onion, cilantro, radish, and cotija cheese.

A final two favorites, as the list continues to grow, are the Hawaiian tacos with carnitas, grilled pineapple salsa, and chipotle aioli, and Cheese Burger (you read that right) with grilled Angus beef, provolone cheese, pickled onion, and pico de gallo.

All of these tacos are wrapped in a super-sturdy, yet soft, tortilla. Top it all off with house-made hot sauces, highly recommended by Schwartz himself, ranging from tomato (mild) to holy habanero (scorching).

The menu also offers quesadillas, burritos, and small bites. Coming up, expect Mahi summer specials on the weekend with $6 Mahi tacos, and a shaved summer squash with pulled pork and a mint-lime vinaigrette. Wash it all down with Coastal Craft Kombucha on tap. Flavors include Lemon Earl Grey, Pineapple Jalapeño, Ahoy Mate, or, my personal booch of choice, Strawberry Tomato.

What makes Mattitaco’s menu even more appealing is that Schwartz is aiming to eliminate food waste. For example, instead of discarding pineapple cores, cooks use them in the almost-too-good-to-be-true Pineapple Jalapeño hot sauce. Also, the outer shell of the cabbage used also goes to feeding Pennie Schwartz’s chickens. It all comes full circle.