Pop over to Boone & Crockett at 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. after 4 p.m. (any night except Monday), and you can now – officially – indulge in a well-prepared but (un)apologetically (un)authentic taco.
That’s because the taco-slinging food truck is officially up and running out on the nearly finished Boone patio. And that’s kind of a big deal, in part because it’s the only food truck in the entire state of Wisconsin that has regular, legal occupancy on a bar property.
But, getting there was a journey. And, despite what you might think, it wasn’t due to licensure snags or health codes or anything you might normally expect.
It was last April when we sat down with John Revord and Chef Mitch Ciohon to chat about their imminent plans to be the first "taco bar" in the city. But, all at once, things were stalled when Ciohon realized that the food truck he’d ordered and paid for online wasn’t going to be arriving after all.
Fast forward a few months and Ciohon began customizing a catering truck he’d used when he was working in Door County. He stripped it down, added a new framework to the inside and added a two-burner grill, two coolers, food warmers and a hood.
"It’s pretty much a full kitchen," he notes. "I set it up just like you would set up a line in the kitchen. You can do almost anything in there."
To finish things off, he cut a large service window into the side.
"Part of the thing with Gypsy Taco was that everything was out in the open," he explains. "People could see the kitchen and the cooking. And I didn’t just want this little window where people couldn’t get a good view of what was going on."
Boone hosted a launch party for its new patio – and its new food truck – at the end of April. In fact, Gypsy Taco served up 432 tacos over the course of six hours that night. But, even then, the truck was still operating on a temporary license.
But now, it’s official
Beginning at 4 p.m. every day but Monday, Gypsy taco serves up a mouthwatering selection of tacos including standards like Dr. Pepper braised pork shoulder ($4), roasted root vegetable with goat cheese and arugula salad ($4), braised beef tongue with ramp kimchi ($4) and grilled chicken thigh with pickled peppers and feta ($4).
A seasonal taco menu includes additional rotating options like the Iron Grate brisket taco with bbq glazed brisket, aioli, avocado, pickled onions, cilantro and lime ($5), fried green tomato with basil arugula salad with buttermilk dressing, jalapeno, radish, sunflower seeds and cotija cheese ($5).
There's also seared tuna with arugula salad, radish, toasted nori and sesame seeds ($6).
And Ciohon says there will be more creative specials on the docket.
"Keep a weathered eye on horizon for the Foie-co," he notes, referring to a new foie gras taco, which he’ll be rolling out on the seasonal menu soon.
Side dishes include queso and chips ($4), Gypsy (tomatillo and cactus) salsa and chips ($3), and a delicious side which Ciohon says has developed "a cult following:" the corn cup featuring grilled corn, arugula, aioli and cotija cheese, topped with fresh radish ($4).
The side of housemade pickles ($3) offers up a nod to Chef Ciohon’s time at Beta by Sabor, where he was ahead of the now-raging pickle trend, serving up adorable jars filled with creatively conceived pickles.
On the sweeter side, there are crisp warm churros served up with a slightly spicy chocolate dipping sauce ($3) and a seasonal dessert which is currently a pound cake trifle with fresh macerated berries and sour whipped cream ($4).
Wash it all down with a cocktail from the bar or – if you prefer something non-alcoholic – grab a Mexican Coke or Topo Chico.
Gypsy Taco’s hours are Tuesday through Thursday 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 4 p.m. to midnight.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.