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CINCINNATI -- If Andrew Gomez gets his way, Over-the-Rhine will be one window away from the perfect taco.
The Cincinnati resident has been developing Gomez Salsa for several months – and if all things go according to plan, his dream of opening a window-only Mexican street food shop at 107 East 12th Street will come true by late March.
“My passion involves food. It always has, but now my passion is to bring it to you street side,” Gomez said in a YouTube video promoting the upcoming eatery.
Gomez Salsa will not be a sit-down restaurant. Instead, Gomez hopes to introduce Over-the-Rhine to his dream: a grab-and-go street side taco and salsa window.
Gomez, who says he’s been serving tacos in Cincinnati for a few years, recently released his menu for the shop on his website GomezSalsa.com.
The menu includes slow-roasted beef and pork tacos, pulled chicken tacos, beer battered fish tacos (made with a beer of the month), veggie tacos and a taco of the day – all for $3 each. Gomez will also serve an $8 turtle shell, which he describes as a hybrid burrito.
“We take a burrito-sized tortilla, stuff it with all the goodies – rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, meat, veggies, cheese – (add a) tostado to give it some crunch. We seal it up with a cheese of approval, cut it in half and give it to you,” Gomez said.
The eatery will also offer chips and salsa for $3 – with an extra $1 for guacamole – and a taco salad served with chips for $7.
Most options on the menu will come with a beer pairing, Gomez said.
In order to raise money to open his shop, Gomez set up an Indiegogo page last week. Similar to KickStarter, Indiegogo.com is an international crowd-funding site that helps raise money for a cause or business.
Gomez’s goal is to reach $5,000 in donations before March 9. As of Tuesday, Feb. 18, Gomez Salsa received $2,560 in donations.
“We've been at this for a while and we're really excited about it, but we need your help in raising some extra funds in order for us to acquire the quality equipment we need so we can run efficiently when we open for you guys,” Gomez said in a video for his Indiegogo campaign.
Those who donate to Gomez Salsa receive different “perks” depending on the amount they donate. If a user donates $25, they receive a free taco, a free salsa and a “Gomez HooRag,” which is a branded hair accessory. For more money, donators can get perks like a free taco or salsa every month or week for a year.
Gomez said his dream of opening his own salsa and taco shop began in the small town of Brownsville, Texas where he ate “the best taco of my life.”
“It was assembled by my abuelita (grandmother), Oralia Gomez. She also hand-chopped the most authentic salsa I’ve ever encountered, which my father made weekly for our family,” Gomez said. “From them, I learned to make salsa the way they did and began producing and selling Gomez Salsa around the Cincinnati area.”
Gomez said his kitchen is almost ready as of mid-February, and the eatery is closer than ever to reaching its final stages before opening.
An official opening date has not been determined yet, but Gomez has already listed his hours: The shop will run all week from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Until his signature tacos and salsa are served from his window on 12th Street, Gomez said there’s plenty of work ahead.
But he’s looking forward to it.
“As the Over-the-Rhine community unravels its true potential, I can only hope that Gomez Salsa will be given the same opportunity,” he said… “I can't promise you I'm ready for what lies ahead, but I can promise you that I'm going to fight with everything I have to work my hardest for all of you. Lets do this.”
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