Our Story

San Loco was founded in 1986 by two brothers whose mother’s suspicion of food additives, and passion for whole unprocessed food was far ahead of her time. And the Nebraska farm on which they were raised only heightened the brothers’ awareness that good food, really GOOD food, is made at home, from scratch. NYC might feel like a world away from the modest life of Nebraska, but believe it or not, San Loco’s roots began in the fertile soil of farm country.

In the 1980’s, New York City’s East Village was a wasteland when it came to Mexican food. It was practically impossible to find a tasty ground beef taco, so in 1986, the two brothers opened San Loco on Second Avenue and St. Marks Place. The business took off, but with each courting a different vision for themselves and San Loco, the brother’s soon dissolved their partnership. Darrell remained, and continued to serve unpretentious Gringo-Mex to the local musicians, artists and off-beat characters of the Lower East Side.

In 1988, Kimo, a Mohawk-sporting punk rocker whose young life already knew a long history in restaurant kitchens, came on board and never left. In 1993, he married Jill (Darrell’s sister), and the three of them eventually became partners. Although this partnership ultimately opened many new chapters for San Loco, the food and vision has always stayed true to Darrell’s original philosophy: comfort food at a comfortable price. This new partnership added a fresh new element to a tried and true concept as well as the addition of 2 new stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn. San Loco story would not be complete without the skilled and dedicated efforts of the general manager, Edgar, whose saintly patience has always been and continues to be instrumental to San Loco’s success.

But enough about the story, what about the food? Because good food, really GOOD food should always be fresh, everything on the San Loco menu is made from scratch*, every day. From the slowly simmered chipotle chicken, to guacamole that is the real deal – fresh avocados perfectly seasoned, and juice from freshly squeezed limes, will make you swoon. Fresh catfish is hand breaded in the San Loco kitchen, and the aptly named Stupid Sauce is so idiotically hot, it just may mess with your IQ.

San Loco’s unique pork carnitas recipe has traditional Mexican roots, and is cooked slowly in an original recipe of intentionally uncomplicated, but straight-forward spices to maintain its porky goodness. And of course, the Tacos gone Loco, a local favorite that has been imitated by many but mastered by none, is a soft tortilla spread with your choice of mashed pinto beans, guacamole or melted cheddar, and wrapped around a crunchy taco.

San Loco’s freshly made cocktails will make your toes curl… and that’s a good thing! Perfectly balanced, sweetly tart margaritas are delicious shaken over ice or frozen, and come in myriad of flavors, including the loco favorite: cactus-pear. But if a margarita doesn’t trip your trigger, maybe a refreshing glass of homemade red or white sangria will? Sharing one with a friend in the laid back San Loco atmosphere might just become your new favorite way to unwind and catch up.

San Loco fuses down-home cooking with Mexican food from the Great Plains together to create what we lovingly refer to as “Gringo-Mex.” San loco is affordable comfort food at its finest… and we deliver ridiculously late, so you can even enjoy some Gringo-Mex cooking in your own happy home! San Loco is proud to be family owned and operated; we have been serving up our unique Gringo-Mex style and down-home flavors for over 25 years. Viva San Loco!

*except squeezee cheezee cheese & apple filling