Tacos El Último Baile has been a beloved East Bay staple, since its early days at Legionnaire Saloon in 2017 through its time at 22nd and Telegraph avenues. But now the taco truck is rolling out of the trailer and into a permanent new space in Fruitvale. It’s an exciting transition for Tacos El Último Baile owner Dominic Prado, as he settles in and throws open the doors on October 15. What the new space will afford Prado is efficiency; having everything in one place will allow him to do what he already does but easier, he says. “With a trailer, there’s so much inefficiency,” he says. “You’ve got to pull it, you’ve got to take it somewhere else, you’ve got to prep somewhere, you’ve got to cook here — [this new space] just kind of eliminates a lot of that.”
Some might know the space Tacos El Último Baile is moving into as the previous home of chef Nite Yun’s restaurant Nyum Bai. But Prado is changing the space to fit his restaurant, starting with kitchen upgrades. There’s an expanded flat top, which is notably 12 inches bigger than the one in the trailer; the al pastor machine, where Prado says he will try to have a daily trompo; and a char grill that he’s already envisioning being used for steak, ribeye, or grilled corn. The front half of the restaurant and its outdoor area where diners will eat will be different, too, and Prado says he is going for a classic, Mexico taqueria and cantina vibes. “We’re trying to go for a nostalgic look,” Prado says. “I’m trying to invoke this nostalgia for the community, so they feel that it’s something that reminds them of where they came from, and me, for myself, a time back to better and older times in my life.”
Prado already has a faithful following with the food he served from his truck and he wants to continue along that track in the new space. Expect more street-style tacos, with grilled meats, on handmade flour tortillas — “our bread and butter,” Prado says. There are no plans to expand the menu into burritos or tortas, he says. “I’d rather focus on tacos and add stuff here and there,” Prado says. But as the restaurant gets its footing, he plans to add specials such as smoked brisket or barbacoa, using a big smoker he has in the works, and items that will make use of the fryer in the kitchen.
As for desserts, Prado has some ideas, but he’s also mindful of his neighbors. There are churros, ice cream, a bakery, and other sweets in the public market, he says, so he would rather encourage customers to patronize businesses nearby. For drinks, there will be beers on tap, starting with local craft beers such as Original Pattern Brewing and Temescal Brewing, and later incorporating selections from Mexico. Although Prado is keeping his menu brief, he knows what works. “It won’t ever be too many things, but it will always be enough to get people’s attention, to get people to come out,” he says.
Tacos El Último Baile (3340 East 12th Street, #11, Oakland) debuts Saturday, October 15 from 1 to 8 p.m. The restaurant will be open on weekends to start, with plans to add Thursday and Friday nights, but check ahead for hours on the business Instagram.