A Damariscotta couple hopes to bring authentic Mexican cuisine to Newcastle.
Michael Castillo and Sara McKenzie, of Damariscotta, have applied to have a taco trailer in the parking lot of Milling Around, 67 Main St., Newcastle, from early spring to late fall. The business will be named ¡Que Rico!, which means delicious.
Both Castillo and McKenzie have experience in food service. McKenzie has worked as a waitress, most recently at the Damariscotta River Grill for six years. Castillo has spent a majority of his 12 years in food service in South Central Los Angeles.
Castillo has had a dream to open a taco cart for many years, McKenzie said. The couple purchased a recently refurbished trailer in June 2015 and began looking for a location to set up shop.
The couple met Ann and Dirk Poole, owners of Milling Around in Newcastle, at a party Castillo catered. The Pooles offered the parking lot of their building as a location for ¡Que Rico!
“They have both been a huge help in helping us prepare and are very supportive,” McKenzie said. “Dirk has set it up so we will be able to use the building’s electricity and not use a generator, so we won’t be generating additional noise.”
The menu will feature a variety of authentic Mexican cuisine, including handmade corn tortillas, tacos, burritos, and more, McKenzie said. Castillo will make his own salsa and guacamole.
“Most of the recipes are from (Castillo’s) time in South Central Los Angeles, but he also learned a few from his mother,” McKenzie said.
¡Que Rico! will try to source ingredients as locally as possible, McKenzie said.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback so far,” McKenzie said. “This is a type of food that has been missing in the area, and everyone we’ve talked to about it is very excited.”
Castillo and McKenzie have been working with Newcastle Code Enforcement Officer Ken Vinal since December to take all the necessary steps in order to open the business, McKenzie said.
Castillo and McKenzie appeared before the Newcastle Design Review Committee earlier in the month and received approval for the appearance of the trailer. The Great Salt Bay Sanitary District has also approved ¡Que Rico! to tie into the town’s sewer system, McKenzie said.
The Newcastle Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Castillo and McKenzie’s application Thursday, May 5. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Newcastle town office.
If the planning board approves the application after the hearing, Castillo and McKenzie would like to open ¡Que Rico! sometime in May, McKenzie said.