This fall Philly will see the opening of Union Taco, courtesy of Nick Farina. The chef intends to work at both the new taqueria and his tapas restaurant, Verdad Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Bryn Mawr. We chatted with him about his reasons for choosing 7th and Girard as the future home to his upscale taco joint, and his previous job as a personal chef for one of the Phils.
Do you have an opening date set for Union Taco?
Tentatively, but that can always change. Right now we’re aiming for Oct. 8.
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Union Taco has a few elevated options on the menu, like duck, fig and manchego flatbread. Why go this route rather than a basic taqueria?
I guess because I love that flavor profile. The concept here — and really our motto — is "where the gringo meets the streets." It’s Mexican street food with an American twist.
You’ve got Verdad, a tapas place in Bryn Mawr. Why open Union Taco in the city?
We don’t have a presence in the city, and this will give us one. I love the demographic there — I love the mix of people. And really, being in the city is fun. My thought process is that that area is making a real push forward and if I’m there I’m ahead of the curve — or at least right with it. I came onto the Main Line after it became and established area. But with Union Taco I’m a little bit ahead.
Will you work at both spots?
Yeah, I’ll probably split my time equally and go back and forth between both. Union Taco will probably be busier early in the day and at lunch. Then I’ll head to Verdad for dinner service.
You were once a personal chef for Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal. How was that?
That was interesting. And different. I would go make him breakfast; then, while he was eating it, I would make dinner and he would wrap it up and eat it after a game. I did it for one season. It was neat to see how somebody who plays a sport like that lives their life.