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With birria and churros, Carmelo’s Tacos opens new, just a little bit larger 12th Ave location

The Asada Tacos at the new Carmelo’s

Born as as a walk-up counter with the slimmest of seating areas part of the Hillcrest Market, tiny Carmelo’s Tacos is getting bigger with its new 12th ave at Cherry location now open.

“It’s been fun. A lot of people are coming out to try the birria and new items,” manager Miguel Cruz says. “We feel the support from the community. We’re grateful.”

Cruz said the new location is picking up speed, serving 100 to 150 people a day — still nowhere close to the staggeringly busy pace the original location inside the quick mart at Summit and E Olive Way has kept up through the pandemic.

In 2018, CHS introduced you to Carmelo Gaspar’s Mexico City and Sultepec-worthy fresh salsas, homemade tortillas, tender meat, and succulent cactus leaves. CHS reported on the planned expansion for Carmelo’s to start 2021. It replaces the 12th Ave location of Oma Bap which continues to offer “fast casual Korean” from its Hugo House location across from Cal Anderson where it opened in 2019.

The new Carmelo’s isn’t huge but it is a big step up for the business with a new kitchen and room for table and sit down dining as COVID-19 restrictions loosen. Outside, there’s a patio and the adjacent 12th Ave Square Park. As the location opened up, the opportunity for a larger location near Seattle University was too appetizing to pass up, Cruz says. The indoor dining space and larger kitchen has also grown the menu with new items joining the Carmelo’s classics.

House made churros with vanilla ice cream drizzled with Nutella

The Carmelo’s helmet logo is a nod to Gaspar’s days mining Sultepec silver before moving to the U.S. and working as a cook for nearly 30 years with the Seattle Cactus restaurants.

At a spry 62, Gaspar is still first in, preparing recipes for the day, cooking the asada, and making the birria, a new addition to the menu. You can also try the torta, chips and salsa, or churros. The churros, by the way, are made in-house and served with vanilla ice cream drizzled with Nutella, a divine sweet treat. Eventually, the new Carmelo’s will add beer and wine, but currently Jarritos and Mexican Coca Cola work just fine.

Carmelo’s Tacos is now open at 1223 E Cherry. You can learn more at

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1 month ago

And damn good tortas.

1 month ago

Look appetitive