Long Island resident John Solo is the owner of The Grand Café in Astoria, Queens and Stefanos Katsikoumbas of the Bronx owns two Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar locations in Harlem, but the duo was not ready to rest on their laurels.
Solo and Katsikoumbas have partnered to co-own the new Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar in White Plains, which opened in March.
Solo explained last week why he and his partner wanted to collaborate for the first time to open their new White Plains restaurant. “He grew up in the Bronx. I grew up in Washington Heights,” Solo said. “We used to come out here a lot when we were kids.”
“We saw the area. We figured this would be a perfect match,” Solo recalled
The menu specializes in what the restaurant is named after. “We have all types of tacos,” Solo said. “We have some fun tacos. Some are traditional, some aren’t.” Most of the tortillas used for the tacos are corn, except for the rock shrimp version, which features flour tortillas.
The traditional tacos include chicken or steak, Solo said.
The most popular taco is a non-traditional item, Solo said. “Our number one seller is the mango jerk taco. It has sort of a Caribbean flair to it,” he said. “It’s sweet and spicy and people love it.”
Another non-traditional taco served at the new restaurant is the rock shrimp taco, Solo said. “It is a lightly battered shrimp with a little bit of mayo,” he said, adding it is his favorite.
“We don’t claim to be Mexican,” Solo said. “We just claim to be a great taco fun place.”
Also befitting its name, the restaurant offers a wide selection of tequilas, Solo said. “We have everything from 1942 Don Julio all the way down to Jose Cuervo,” he said, adding many versions of margaritas are offered.
When the restaurant first opened most of the customers lived in the White Plains area, but since then patrons have come from various other locations including the Bronx and different parts of Westchester County, Solo said.
The restaurant also offers catering services.
Solo said he and his partner chose to have their new business feature tacos and tequilas because, “It keeps it fun, festive and light.”
“Our goal for the business is to bring it to a consistent level, which we’re almost there,” Solo said.
Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar is located at 166 Mamaroneck Ave. For more information, visit https://www.cantinany.com/white-plains or Instagram @cantinawhiteplains.