Sun, Sand, and Locavorism: Rockaway Taco’s New Projects, WTB, and a Beachside Market

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Photo: Daniel Maurer

A week after announcing its new chef Mark Davidoff and this season’s opening dates, Water Taxi Beach has told us a little bit about Davidoff’s plans for Governors Island: The locavore Back Stage Café will serve sandwiches, wraps, gazpacho, and salads such as quinoa with chickpeas, Hudson Valley cheese with local greens, and a variety of salads made with produce grown a few miles away. All well and good, but if you’re looking to eat well on a real beach, the obvious question is: What’ll be new at Rockaway Taco when it opens Memorial Day weekend? As it turns out, chef Andrew Field (just back from surfing in Mexico, Hawaii, and Bali) has a lot planned.

He tells us that depending on whether their Corona plant can keep up with demand, he’ll be getting his tortillas from Tortilleria Nixtamal this year, and getting custom made jalapeño and Serrano chorizos, as well as pig parts for al pastor specials, from the Meat Hook. (If plans solidify, the Meat Hook may also be providing sausages and hot dogs for a potential “BBQ cart” at the marina near the 59th Street firehouse). Tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeños, and habañeros will come from seeds currently being planted on the shack’s rooftop garden.

Oh, and what about the coffee truck we brought news of earlier? Field and his partner David Selig are still trying to lock down permits, but in addition to cold-brew iced coffee by Jack’s, they’re planning to serve woodside bakehouse granola bars, Mexican chicken soup, and fresh tamales on the corner of 97th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. “The Jack’s coffee truck will be the only place on the Rockaway peninsula that has an espresso machine,” Field tells us, and while that’s not quite true (Breezy Point’s waterfront restaurant, Kennedy’s, serves espresso — and pickle martinis, too!), his point stands.

And finally, Elizabeth Gilchrist of Blooming Hills Farm reports that on May 1, she’ll open a market (still unnamed) in the corner space right next to Rockaway Taco and John DiCosmo's ice stand (also back for the season). She’ll sell local organic produce as she did sporadically last year, but on weekdays, too — and she’s also expanding into light fare such as omusubi, onigiri, dashi, pickles, salads, some baked goods, and juices and smoothies depending on what ingredients are available. “Our growth [will be] literally measured by the growth around us,” says Gilchrist. “[We’re] hoping to help our neighbors clean up their grounds, with empty lots spread seeds of nitrogen-fixing plants that bees love.”

Picnic, anyone?