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Mexican Flavors / Bringing fast taco fun to the Northtowns

Tacos, Community, & Beer



Photos by David Berndt

 

Tacos, Community, & Beer

6449 Transit Road, East Amherst
458-0380
or tcbbuffalo.com

 


 

Open only since January—with a liquor license added in March—Tacos, Community, & Beer is a welcome addition to its Northtowns location. Specializing in traditional street tacos, “gourmet” variations, and Mexican-themed cocktails, TCB, as co-owner Jon McKissock likes to call it, belongs to a category of restaurant that’s been called Fast Casual 2.0 by some trend watchers. There’s a chef-driven menu, but there’s also counter service. There are artisanal cocktails, but a waitress won’t be bringing them. According to McKissock, the formula is working. “I have been in the business for about twenty years, he says. “I’ve always loved tacos and I wanted something that’s quick-serve but also has a bar.”

 

McKissock, who co-owns TCB with partner Justin Randaccio, has a sizable pedigree on Buffalo’s dining scene. He started out at Hutch’s, where he was first busboy, then bartender, and cites Mark Hutchinson as his first mentor. From there, McKissock worked at Soho and Jimmy Macs, and, most recently, was a co-owner of the now-closed Encore. He notes that the fast casual model might have been a way to go for Encore, which had a bustling bar scene but was less busy as a restaurant.

 

 

McKissock saw a rendering of TCB’s location on Facebook and was immediately interested, liking the fact that it was a new building of a modest size (only 1750 square feet). Within that space, the restaurant offers four four-tops, a big communal table that acts a second bar, and bar-height seating along the windows.

 

 

McKissock has had great tacos in San Diego and at Chicago’s El Hefe and enlisted chef Chris Mahoney to provide traditional renditions like carnita and barbacoa as well as new wave tacos that incorporate ingredients like rib eye, sashimi tuna, and blackened fish. The restaurant sources its corn tortillas from El Milagro and there is a fresh toppings bar. Drinks include the classics as well as the popular Lettieri, a concoction of Tequila, Bauchant, lime, jalapeño, and cucumber named after McKissock’s friend, Savoy co-owner Danny Lettieri.

 

Why the restaurant’s name? It’s simple, memorable, and has a great three-letter acronym.    

 

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