Tucked inside the Hillcrest Market is Capitol Hill’s newest culinary delight from south of the border. Serving up fresh salsas, homemade tortillas, tender meat, and succulent cactus leaves, Carmelo’s is bringing the flavors of Mexico City to Seattle, one taco at a time.
This family owned and operated business is staffed by four employees, including the owner Carmelo Gaspar, who was slicing asada when CHS went for a visit. Carmelo’s manager Miguel Cruz says they worked close by and knew the owner of the store. “We saw the teriyaki guy was out, so we started talking to the owner and we got an opportunity to start,” he said.
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Cruz tells CHS that Carmelo’s serves what the family eats at home. “Everything is super fresh and made each morning,” he said. The unique flavors served come from Mexico City and a little farther South, in Sultepec, where Carmelo is from.
“Our speciality right now is the campechano tacos, chorizo and steak together with onions, potatoes, and cactus leaves, this is very popular in Mexico City,” Cruz said. “Sultepec was founded in the 1700s by the Spanish who were looking for silver. Carmelo used to be a miner in the silver mines before moving to the United States.” If you were wondering why there’s a miners helmet in the logo, now you know.
While the walk-up window is a fast option if you’re on the go, there is a seating area inside the market, with enough space for 10 to 12 people. Regardless of how much time you have for lunch or dinner, you’ll need to make time to try the campechano taco. You never knew how much you’ve been missing cactus leaves in your life and those delicious handmade tortillas.
Carmelo’s Tacos is located inside the Hillcrest Market at 110 Summit Ave E. Hours are 11 AM to 10 PM on Monday through Thursday, 10 AM to midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 10 PM on Sundays.