Joyce may never cook again.
Poco Loco has added Mexican to the Italian, Chinese, Irish, Italian, American and Thai restaurants in the Edgewood/Pawtuxet neighborhood, making for a potential different take-out every night of the week…and that doesn’t even include fish and chips on Friday.
Unlike most restaurants that start with “soft openings” and slowly build their clientele, Poco Loco hit Broad Street on the run, drawing huge crowds from the moment they opened their door. Co-Owners Alan Masterson and Chris Gilchrist are longtime friends who started their entrepreneurship with a food truck on the West Side of Providence a couple of years ago. The truck was a success, with loyal customers, including Mayor Fung, tracking its location on Facebook.
“I’d come out of a late evening meeting and check out their location,” Mayor Fung told me.
“He’s already been in to see us,” Chris said, “along with many of our regulars.”
We visited Poco Loco two nights after it opened. Every one of its 20 seats was filled, and there was a line waiting to order.
“Needless to say, we were overwhelmed,” Alan said.
The following Saturday morning five employees were busy prepping for another busy day, following a very busy night.
Why such an immediate success?
“We have a loyal customer base, especially from Providence, Cranston and Warwick,” Chris said. “I grew up in the neighborhood and knew that Broad Street had a lot of traffic, especially from Cranston and Warwick commuters.”
Both co-owners agreed that they never expected the immediate response when they opened their doors.
There are three more reasons for the instant acceptance: great food, friendly service and the fact that the area has never had a Mexican take-out.
Alan is the experienced restaurateur, having worked at the Vanderbilt in Newport and other restaurants in Newport and Cape Cod. Alan is an electrician by trade and used to keep the truck running.
Joyce thinks that tacos are one of the food groups, so it won’t be long before we have been through the entire menu. I hope I will never have to go to the well-known taco chain again.
The best sellers are listed on the menu as “Our Favorites,” which can be ordered as a taco, burrito or grande taco.
“The PBI is our best seller,” Alan said. “It is stuffed with pork, black beans, jalapenos, cheese and our sweet chili BBQ sauce.”
Other choices include The Napalm, with chicken, jalapenos, Napalm sauce, cheese and Cajun mayo, and my favorite, The Southwest, with chorizo and potato, corn salsa, sour cream, red onion and Monterey jack cheese.
The Quesadillas are those crispy tortillas. For $5, they come with your choice of meat, cheese, cilantro, sour cream and red onion. There are three favorites: black bean and corn, BBQ chicken and Chorizadilla, which has a delicious chorizo and potato hash, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro and sweet corn salsa.
A stack of cardboard boxes is quickly depleted as dozens of Sheet Pan Nachos ($8) are the popular take-out item. Tortilla chips smothered with melted cheese, your choice of meat, beans, jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream can also be turned into a nacho.
Tacos are only $2 each and you can mix and match to your delight. Sides include chips and salsa, guacamole, Spanish rice, beans and Cajun pita chips.
There’s more, and they are special. Joyce is fighting for shrimp tacos, which Alan says he is looking to add on Fridays.
“Vegetarians love our menu,” he said. “It is healthy and tasty.”
And inexpensive, I might add.
Poco Loco, at 2005 Broad St. in Cranston, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The staff works long hours and takes time out for siesta on Sunday and Monday.
You can text 281-YUMM for their truck schedule. Call the store ahead at 461-2640 to place your order. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.