One of Tucson's most popular food trucks Aqui con El Nene has expanded to the south side with a brick and mortar restaurant.
Owner Salvador Gastelum converted the building that used to hold China Bay restaurant on Valencia just west of South Sixth Avenue. He's fashioned the space into a hip taqueria with a similar vibe to the nearby BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs. The space stays open until 3 a.m. on the weekends.
The dining room is industrial chic, with dark wood booths and stainless steel tables. There are flatscreen TV's playing music as well as iconic pictures of Gastelum's native Ciudad Obregon tacked onto exposed brick walls.
The menu features the same stuffed potato papanchas and mesquite-grilled carne asada tacos that you'll find at the original truck, 4415 N. Flowing Wells Road. (There's also a second location at 570 W. Grant Road.) In addition, the new restaurant also offers menudo, pozole and birria soups. In true Aqui con El Nene style, there's also a sizable salsa bar.
The restaurant is open now at 65 W. Valencia Road. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.