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  • Gringo’s Jersey City is Open {+ It’s a Taco Joint to Remember}

    Gringo. Upon first hearing it, you may think to yourself, “Is this word okay to say?” — let alone be the name of a taco joint in Jersey City. In Darren Conway’s case, being called this word was the catalyst for the name of his new taco joint, Gringo’s, which he and three friends/biz partners decided to open in Jersey City. And as of Monday, July 17th, the long-awaited and much buzzed-about restaurant/bar, Gringo’s Jersey City, is officially open {after 16 long months of construction}.

    ^What we’re imagining the Darren and his crew felt after a long year and a half of construction {…also on the wall for your IG-taking pleasure}

    Walk into this mechanic shop-turned-restaurant located at 12 Coles Street between Newark and Columbus, and you’re in for a treat. Gringo’s has a plethora of fun in store for its visitors: a piñata room stocked with actual piñatas for the beating, cocktails on tap {yesss, we said COCKTAILS ON TAP}, and sombreros and maracas for use {so your Instagram snaps are that much more fun}.

    There are also outdoor picnic tables to seat 70-100 people when in full use.

    If you’re familiar with Darren and his partners Rebecca Tarantino, James Ventola, and Chef Rick Truocchio, it’s probably because they’re the force behind the ever-popular outdoor Hoboken spot Pier 13. It was only a matter of time before they took some of their talents in hospitality and creative cuisine to Jersey City {and also Staten Island, coming soon!}. The new JC spot is a testament to their forward-thinking — as they’ve magically turned an old garage into a colorful taco haven and bar.

    “My vision was to create a fun space that gave you the feeling of being off-the-beaten path in Tijuana. Somewhere you could go to grab some great food and freshly-made cocktails,” Darren shared with us. We got a chance to sneak a peek at the menu and space last week, and boy were we impressed.

    ^Piñata room: Perfect for parties!

    Every detail is carefully curated by its owners, from the hand-painted tiling by the bar {done by Darren and his fiancé} to the piñata-encapsulated lighting in the front room and of course, the 1960s divco milk truck {that they got off eBay!} that hosts the kitchen staff and partner/Chef Rick in the back.

    See More: The Antique Bar & Bakery in Hoboken is a Must-Visit

    ^The kitchen

    They incorporated some of Jersey City’s history into the place with their Gringos sign outside {its origin was on Grove Street in the ’60s} and contracted local artist Letters by Laura to paint their signage. The music theme of the space is obviously ’90s hip hop playing on repeat, so it’s a guaranteed good time.

    ^The historic sign refurbished @ night after our meal. 

    ^On the weekends, they’ll have a walk-up outdoor taco bar open until 3AM {2AM on Thursdays} – which will open in a few weeks for takeout only.

    As far as food and drink, the menu boasts cerveza, tequila, and tacos {and the dish names are chuckle-worthy; exhibit A: “Look Mom I’m Vegan!” taco, which is a blend of roasted carrot, charred cauliflower, grilled corn, pickled red onion, scallion, and salsa verde}.

    ^A few of the tacos we ordered. The Gringo beef taco {hard shell} was amaze. The grilled octopus + vegan taco are also something to write home about.

    Darren’s favorite item so far on the menu? “The Buffalo Soldier, which is shrimp tempura, house-made buffalo sauce with house-made celery and carrot slaw topped with a ranch cream. I also love the ‘Kim Jong Un’ which is our Korean short rib taco. It really knocks it out of the park.” Noted, and on our list to try.

    See More: Must-Try Small Plates in Downtown Jersey City

    ^The fresh cocktails on tap — served up and made by the batch daily {on the menu}. We ordered the Marg + El Chapo:

    ^The El Chapo had jalapeno-infused tequila which gave it a little extra kick. Coupled with blood orange it was muuuuy bien, if we do say so ourselves.

    ^Choco tacos and paletas for dessert. Because obviously.

    “The idea for Gringos was to bring back fun to dining,” Darren shared with us, adding that they wanted to focus on delicious authentic eats. It’s safe to say they did just that —and more. It’s a great time… perfect for drinks/tacos after work with your crew, a birthday dinner, or a fun date night with your taco-loving +1. A few more pics because we can’t get enough of the unique decor:

    ^Bathroom door situation — lolz {artwork by Letters by Laura – a JC local}. Make sure you push hard on the left side to open the door! 

    ^Sombreros for the borrowing. They also have maracas!

    ^An actual menu item. Beer in a bag. 

    Their current hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 5PM-12AM, Friday/Saturday 5PM-2AM, and Sunday 5PM-10PM {with kitchen closing at 10PM daily}. Soon they’ll be rolling out $2 Taco Tuesdays which are sure to be a hit as well as their walk-up taco takeout bar, which deserves a second mention.

    A must-try and a great addition to the Jersey City foodie scene. Welcome to the neighborhood, Gringos!

    Read More: The Menu Items You MUST Order at Ani Ramen House in Jersey City


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site 5 years ago to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local Hoboken + Jersey City boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


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