Been getting the urge for a fresh steak taco or cheesy quesadilla? Babylon Village now has a restaurant for that. Swell Taco recently opened in the former Lucy's Bistro and Grill location at 135 Deer Park Avenue. The owners of the California-like restaurant, siblings Steve and Brooke Jankow, recently sat down with Babylon Village Patch to discuss their love for Mexican food, hertiage and why they love Babylon.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Brooke: We grew up out in California and grew up eating really good Mexican food. I moved out here a while back to go to college, where I met my husband. We've always noticed what's really popular on the West Coast isn't exactly popular here on the East Coast.
Steve: We just wanted to make [homemade Mexican food] a little more readly available to people here, the stuff we love. It seemed like it was harder to find out here.
What's unique about Swell Taco?
Brooke: It's just really good, simple food.
Steve: It's always been something within our family – learning how to cook food. If it's not pizza, sometimes its homemade Mexican food...
Brooke: ...and sometimes it was even Mexican pizza. [laughs]
Steve: What we wanted to do was provide something we all enjoyed as a family and share it with everyone here.
Brooke: We thought it would be something different. While our village has some great places to eat, there was really no casual places to grab a bite eat. We want this place to be about good vibes, good food and having fun.
Do you have any previous experience with restaurants?
Steve: Brooke helped Lucy's get off the ground before this place and I have cooked in many kitchens. I recently cooked in a family friend's Mexican restaurant, Ricardo's Place in San Juan. They were nice enough to let me train in their kitchen and take a lot of their flavors and recipes. We really wanted to bring an authentic flavor, although a lot of the stuff here isn't authentic. There's a lot of original recipes.
Brooke: I've been working restaurants since I was 14 years old in every position imaginable. Its something I've always loved and enjoyed. I bring the management side and Steve brings the cooking side.
What's the best or most unique item on the menu?
Steve: The big seller for us right now has been the fish tacos. The most unique is our "Buffalo Solider," which is a mixture of traditional Mexican burrito with some Long Island love – buffalo sauce and blue cheese.
What do you like about Babylon Village?
Brooke: Babylon is my little bubble! If I leave it, I get a little disoriented. It just the best of everything – a small town vibe, but it's got a life to it and its not too small. The village is hopping on Friday nights. It's got a really strong sense of community and I love the history of it. The beaches are right there and so is the city. The Village itself does a great job of maintaining a certain aesthetic. For me to leave California is borderline insane – I love everything about it and I love there. But if there was any place other than California, it would have to be Babylon.
Swell Taco is opened daily, with hours currently changing as summer approaches. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for more updates!