After a couple of months renovating the interior of the building at 1403
West 39th Street -- the location of the old Macaluso's Restaurant --
Jose Mendoza Jr. opened his Mexican restaurant for business at 8 a.m.
Saturday. A large banner announcing the opening fluttered in
front of the building, and Mendoza stood outside, greeting customers.
It was a rocky beginning: The servers weren't using the restaurant's
actual menu that morning ("We're still tweaking things," one of them
explained to me) but offered up a handwritten list of that morning's
breakfast specials, including scrambled eggs with chorizo. Coffee was
served in a Styrofoam cup.
I had jumped to the assumption that Mendoza's burrito joint was going to be a fast-casual restaurant, a place where one ordered food at a counter -- not unlike Chipotle, a few blocks west of this location -- and ate it there or carried it out.