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El Gusano Drops Taqueria Fare, Pambazo!! In Oakland

1015 Clay Street, Oakland, CA
Status: (510) 444-9676
Phone: Officially Open

Just yesterday, Tropisueño partners Erin Brooks and Michael Sopher opened a sister restaurant in conjunction with a few new partners: El Gusano in the former Tatuyo Tequila N Tapas Lounge in Old Oakland. Brooks says the menu and concept are very similar to Tropisueño. By day, the format is a counter-service taqueria with a fresh salsa bar. At night the salsa bar rolls out, and the atmosphere morphs into a restaurant with counter service.

The menu includes tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos, quesadillas, and—one unique addition—the Mexico City-style torta known as pambazo ($7.95), which is a soft white bread dipped in red guajillo sauce and stuffed with chorizo and potato. Brooks says menu items range in price from $3.95 for guacamole to around $11 for the larger platters. "You can easily get a full lunch for under $10," she adds.

There's a 10-seat bar up front that will have a more fleshed out mezcal program, hence the "El Gusano" moniker, which means "the worm." The rest of the decor includes loads of "rich" reclaimed wood, an abstract replica of a dilapidated church on one wall, a 10-seat communal table, and Mexican blankets on the ceiling. "It's a little more masculine, a little tougher than Tropisueño," adds Brooks. "But it's still warm and colorful."

This week, they're open for lunch only, through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Monday, dinner service will begin at 5:30 p.m., lasting through Saturday. The resturant is closed on Sunday for now. Happy hour will also roll in next week from 4 to 6 p.m., nightly.

As always, your early reports are most appreciated in the comments section, or in the tip jar.

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El Gusano

1015 Clay Street, Oakland, CA