You read that title right and, no, we are not talking about Justin Timberlake. We are talking about the third iteration of Harlem restaurant pioneer Brian Washington Palmer’s 118th Street and Lenox Avenue location, Sexy Taco. Now nestled on the corner of Strivers’ Row and 7th Avenue as the second iteration of the former Ruby’s Vintage, it is ready to give us all of the feels again.
Together with his partner, Nikoa Evans, Washington Palmer is reviving their fun and approachable California street food brand in the remodeled Ruby’s Vintage space.
“The pandemic forced all businesses to reassess their operations, brand positioning and the way in which their audience’s preferences may have evolved during the last 18 months,” said Evans.
“We saw that this area of upper 7th was quickly developing a nightlife trend with more late-night spots and bar options. We saw this as an ideal opportunity to bring back Sexy Taco that offers a bar atmosphere with great food, making it approachable to a wider audience,” said Washington Palmer, whose firm BK Designs is also behind all of the design concept and execution of the space, a role he has traditionally played in all of his previous restaurants.
The restaurant group revamped the space to create an entirely new vibe with its signature eclectic décor featuring some of the same elements found in its former location. The decor completes the atmosphere with tiled floors, vintage wallpaper coverings, a mural of Chaka Kahn anchoring the back wall, and the bar’s signature flamingos and classic kitsch on display throughout the space.
The new Sexy Taco Cali-inspired Mexican menu will offer a selection of customized tacos, bowls and burritos with fillings options like Cuban chicken, beef birria, and vegan chorizo. Also, I have been missing their guacamole and fish tacos. And let’s not sleep on their whimsical and unique cocktails like the Hurricane Caesar (Bacardi 8, Rhum Clement VSOP, passionfruit liqueur and orgeat) and the Fire Negroni (mezcal, Campari, vermouth, Cyar, grapefruit liquor, Hellfire bitters).
Personally, I cannot wait to get the Latin Old Fashion back to my lips.
Evans reminds us as we continue to open the world, the country, the state, the city and the neighborhood, there is renewed energy, lessons learned and action to be taken to meet a new market where it is in a festive and safe way. “Sexy Taco is a familiar brand to the community that represents that fun, celebratory energy and was best suited for our new strategy,” said Evans.
Sexy Taco is located at 2340 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and opened this week on July 14. Open Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday brunch service from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Welcome back to the ‘hood. We’ve missed you!
Happy eating and thanks for reading.
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 18 years. She is the new Food Editor at www.TheSpruceEats.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPnyc, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc.
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