clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Popular Taco Counter Carmelo’s Aims to Open Its First Full-Fledged Restaurant April 5

The expansion to East Cherry Street marks a big step for the small Hillcrest Market operation

A view of carne asada tacos topped with guacamole and pico de gallo
Carne asada tacos at Carmelo’s
Carmelo’s/Instagram

Spring means expansion for one Mexican street food destination. Carmelo’s Tacos — the wildly popular counter in Capitol Hill’s Hillcrest Market — plans to open its second location and first full-fledged restaurant on Monday, April 5. The new restaurant is at 1223 East Cherry Street, near Seattle University, right on the borderlands of First Hill.

The family-owned stall has been a not-so-secret hidden gem since opening in 2018, with hits that include Mexico City-style tacos in campechano, asada, and al pastor varieties. For years, local critics have swooned over the attention to detail from the small operation founded by former Cactus cook Carmelo Gaspar, particularly the wonderfully prepared tortillas made onsite. In a town and neighborhood that has many great taco options, Carmelo’s continues to be a standout.

Co-owner Raul Delfin tells Eater Seattle the menu at the new outpost will be largely the same as the original, featuring opening week specials such as birria tacos and churros, available for takeout. Carmelo’s will build up little by little, rotating in new tacos each month that represent different regions of Mexico and offer breakfast tacos and burritos on weekend mornings. Capitol Hill Seattle first reported on the plans in January.

Carmelo’s takes over the location formerly occupied by fast-casual Korean spot Oma Bap, which closed the location in 2020 (though it still has a restaurant on 11th Avenue). There’s an outdoor patio and room for 30 guests inside the 1,300 square-foot space (currently, Seattle is in phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, which allows for 50 percent seating capacity inside).

Though the location isn’t huge, its pending debut should be good news for longtime fans of the Capitol Hill counter, who have no doubt experienced long lines for tacos at Hillcrest Market. And it marks a major move for the humble Hillcrest business, which continues to build a dedicated following.

Carmelo's Tacos

110 Summit Avenue East, , WA 98102 (206) 659-0159

Carmelo's Tacos [Cherry Street]

1223 East Cherry Street, Space C121A, Seattle , WA 98122

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Seattle newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world