January 26, 2019 – The talented team behind the Penny Ice Creamery and the Picnic Basket in Santa Cruz is gearing up to launch a new restaurant called Snap Taco in the building that used to house Assembly Restaurant.
“It’s going to be a new school taco joint with flavors inspired from all over planet earth,” says Zach Davis, co-owner with Kendra Baker. “The idea is to do something fun and casual that’s family-friendly. I think that’s what people are looking for.”
Davis and Baker are partnering on Snap Taco with chef Mark Denham, formerly of Soif and La Posta, and manager Sarah Shields. They hope to open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch by the end of February.
In addition to an assortment of reasonably-priced street tacos, with plenty of vegetarian options, the menu will include bowls, soups and salads. “You could eat here everyday and not have the same thing twice,” Davis says, adding that three tacos should cost around $11 at lunchtime. A kid’s menu will also be available.
Bright swaths of turquoise, magenta and orange have been painted onto the facade of the restaurant and on sidewalk seating, prompting much speculation in the community about what is taking shape inside. “It’s just as colorful inside as outside,” says Davis. “We’re trying to create a fun, festive atmosphere and have reconfigured it so it feels a little cozier with more seating nooks.”
The beverage menu will include fresh juices, slushies, cocktails, beer and wine, with a happy hour everyday from 4pm to 6pm featuring $2 off on drinks and snacks. A private courtyard behind the restaurant is being opened up to customers with ping pong and other games.
“We’re not going for authentic Mexican,” he says. “We put a Santa Cruz lens on everything we do, with local organic ingredients and sourcing.” They are looking to hire about 25 new employees.
Davis says they’ve wanted to open a taco joint for years and after closing Assembly in August, both he and Baker took their respective families to do research and visit taquerias in Southern California, Austin and Washington D.C.
In keeping with the festive theme, they plan to offer daily specials starting at 6pm, including free food for kids on Sunday evenings:
– Margarita Monday
– Taco Tuesday
– Nacho Mama’s Wednesday
– Thirsty Thursday
– Friday Night Vibes
– Slushy Love Saturday
– Sunday Funday kids eat free after 5pm
Snap Taco will offer a preview of its food at the Twisted Tasting beer festival at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on February 8.
The casual counter-service only restaurant is certainly a change from the farm-to-table Assembly restaurant, which Davis and Baker operated at the same location for four and a half years. But they are not alone in their love for tacos, the team behind Cultura comida y bebida in Carmel is also opening a street taco joint called Cult Taco on Alvarado St. in Monterey in March.
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.