Beer-battered Baja crispy fish taco.
Beer-battered Baja crispy fish taco. / Photos by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — There’s a new taqueria in town.

Its name is Tacombi. It’s the small but growing chain’s 18th location.

It’s the first Tacombi in Connecticut. Other locations can also be found in New York City, the Washington, D.C., area and Miami.

Westport’s newest eatery, watched with anticipation for months, is in a repurposed 1950s gas station at 1680 Post Road East, previously A&J Farm Stand.

Tacombi’s origin story also includes wheels. It began on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico in a VW bus, or “combi,” as they’re known down there, converted to a taco truck. Tacombi is a mashup of taco and combi.

Tacombi has indoor bar-height tables, and a lot of outdoor dining under a roofed area. For colder months, overhead heaters are in place and some louvered sides are planned.

Wednesday evening, Tacombi hosted a soft opening, feeding 200 or more invited guests. That kind of rollout lets the staff work out the kinks before the official opening. Another one is planned Thursday.

Tacombi officially opens to the public Monday.

It’s unlikely the old filling station ever smelled so good. The aroma of warming tortillas, roasting pork, carne asada and frying fish filled the air.

People of all ages came to the Wednesday’s rollout, toddlers on up. Those eating appeared happy, those waiting for food to be served up, hopeful.

The staff was friendly and attentive, the bartenders and line cooks busy, getting their rhythm down.

There are of course tacos, quesadillas and burritas, breakfast tacos and entradas. In addition to beer and wine, it offers cocktails, including margaritas, pina coladas and spiked hibiscus.

Carne asada taco.
Carne asada taco.

People order at a window outside, and pick up their items at the bar and then the food line.. Notifications come by text, but expediters also call out names.

Al Pastor, Mexico City-style marinated pork with pineapple.
Al Pastor, Mexico City-style marinated pork with pineapple.

Petagaye McLaughlin, asked about the hunk of meat on a vertical roaster, she said it was marinated pork, topped with pineapple.

“Al Pastor,” she said. “It’s our number one taco.”

“Pineapples mean so much in Mexican hospitality,” she said.

The fish tacos had a sizable hunk of cod, beer-battered.

“It’s from Baja California,” said Luis Berenbau, senior director of operations for Tacombi.

They were crispy on the outside, moist and flaky inside.

Tacombi’s hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.