First Look at Empellon al Pastor, Now Open in the East Village

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The main attraction.
The main attraction. Photo: Melissa Hom

The corn for the masa has been nixtamalized, the tortilla machine is cranking out the tortillas, and the giant pork trompo is spinning. Yes, it’s true. Alex Stupak has flung open the doors to Empellón al Pastor, his so-called bar-tortilleria in the East Village, and now the two questions on everyone’s mind await their answers: Is taco eating all about context, as Stupak’s Theory of Tacotivity states? And do tacos taste better served on paper plates in a bar-tortilleria than they do on fancy china in a well-appointed restaurant? Well, for Stupak’s sake, let’s hope so. “We’ve named it Empellón al Pastor because I’m not giving myself an out,” says the chef. “We have to master this taco. If we fail at everything else in this restaurant, we have to get this one thing right. I’ve never been more terrified.” Take a look at Empellón al Pastor’s raison d’être and the space, straight ahead.

The streamlined menu.
The streamlined menu. Photo: Melissa Hom
Pork on the trompo.
Pork on the trompo. Photo: Melissa Hom
The kitchen nixtamalizes and grinds corn in house for the fresh tortillas.
The kitchen nixtamalizes and grinds corn in house for the fresh tortillas. Photo: Melissa Hom
Another look at Stupak's version of al pastor.
Another look at Stupak’s version of al pastor. Photo: Melissa Hom
A look at the dining room.
A look at the dining room. Photo: Melissa Hom
The bar. The restaurant offers Michelada recipes dreamed up by famed chefs.
The bar. The restaurant offers Michelada recipes dreamed up by famed chefs. Photo: Melissa Hom
The location once housed the punk-rock dive Alcatraz ...
The location once housed the punk-rock dive Alcatraz … Photo: Melissa Hom
... which helps explain this message scrawled inside.
… which helps explain this message scrawled inside. Photo: Melissa Hom

Earlier: Al Pastor Tacos Will Be the Main Attraction at Alex Stupak’s Empellón al Pastor

Related: 5 Things Alex Stupak Learned About Tacos al Pastor in Mexico

First Look at Empellon al Pastor, Now Open