MONCTON – Jared Betts wants the restaurant community to get creative and collaborative with the first Moncton Taco Week May 1-7.
“I feel like this will kind of make [the restaurants] come together and work together, celebrating a taco, celebrating Moncton food,” he said. “I know a lot of them support local suppliers as well. It’s just kind of a unifying thing.”
The event is organized in partnership with United Way. A dollar from each taco plate sold will go towards helping the organization’s community work.
Betts is working with a team to organize the festival, including Mexi’s owner Mat Youden. He’s also been in talks with Tourism New Brunswick, whose strategy includes highlighting the culinary experiences available in the province.
“It’s really about people coming to support Moncton and New Brunswick through the joy of tacos,” he said.
Betts is an artist who loves tacos. He “learned what a taco could truly be” when he was travelling to Mexico. Last year, he worked at a friend’s restaurant, making tacos, on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“I love all the different ingredients [that goes into a taco]. So I thought, wouldn’t it be a beautiful idea to do it with some of the restaurants in Moncton?”
For the festival, each of the participating food establishments will make their own taco. The price will start at $7 and up.
Buddha Bear Cafe in Riverview is one of the cafes that is taking part. Co-owner Jeff Grandy says the cafe’s chef will serve a fried chicken taco from its shipping-container storefront.
“Our chef used to work at a fried chicken place in Montreal, so he’s kind of itching to do something with his old stomping ground, what he used to do for a while,” he said.
“The chicken will be, kind of, a little fried. We don’t have a full deep fryer at our place. We’re gonna do three for $13, that should be enough for a hungry person.”
Grandy said he’s hoping this will give his business more visibility.
“We’re pretty new. What we hope is I guess to introduce people to our business through things like this.”
Chad Steeves, the owner of Tide & Boar Gastropub and Duo Wine Bar and Cafe, hasn’t decided what two tacos will represent each of the businesses. But Steeves, who also organized the Burger Festival in February, said he’s excited about the event.
“I hope we do have increased sales through events like this,” he said. “But also they’re geared towards increasing the tourism likeability of Moncton as a culinary destination. So, if we can showcase within ourselves all of our creativity in the culinary industry, then it’ll only get people motivated to come to Moncton.”
Kanpai Izakaya, The Old Triangle, Les Brumes du Coude, Guacamole, St. James Gate, Heavy Kevy’s Food Truck, Piatto Pizzeria and Enoteca, the food counter at Dolma Food, Notre Dame de Parkton, Little Louis, TRIIIO, Mexi’s, Blue Olive and pop-up restaurant Black Rabbit are also taking part.
Customers can get booklets called passports, on which they can get a stamp at each establishment. After getting a certain amount of stamps, they can drop their booklets at a passport box to win prizes from sponsors like Apple Art Gallery and the Goddess Gatherings, among others.
Betts will be selling t-shirts and sweaters with the Moncton Taco Week logo at the Moncton Farmers’ Market on April 21 and 28, and May 5. He will also be distributing the passports then.
Moncton Taco Week will update its Instagram account with photos of the tacos as the participants begin creating them.