Mexican deli to open in Bristol
BRISTOL — A Mexican food truck business that its owners say sells only authentic cuisine has moved into a space on Bristol’s Main Street.
Taco Truck All Stars, operated by Adam and Charlotte Hineman of Bristol, also hopes to add a deli that will offer what they call genuine Mexican products. The couple hopes the deli, called Bristol Mexican Market, will be open soon.
The Hinemans said they believe there is a lack of authentic Mexican cuisine in Addison County and Vermont.
“We can’t find anything out here,” Charlotte Hineman said. “We can go up to Burlington and there’s a couple restaurants there, but they’re pretty pricey and they’re not sourcing their product from Mexican retailers.”
To get genuine Mexican goods, the Hinemans drive to markets in Latin American neighborhoods in New York City.
“In the summer, we were going once a week down to New York,” Charlotte Hineman said. “All of the products from the taco truck are from New York.”
As their business expands, the couple hopes that retailers will be willing to deliver to them.
LONG ROAD TO BRISTOL
Both Charlotte and Adam Hineman are transplants to Vermont.
Charlotte Hineman emigrated from South Africa in 2002 (she retains her accent) and worked in food service at inns and resorts in Vermont. Adam Hineman is a northern California native with a similar food service background.
After they both worked at the Basin Harbor Club in Ferrisburgh, the couple moved to Eureka, Calif. for five years. It was there that the idea to bring Mexican food to Vermont was born.
“Everyone loves a two-dollar taco,” Adam Hineman said. “The street food in California, you couldn’t get anywhere else.”
Charlotte Hineman described a different food service environment.
“There, every single corner has either a taco truck or a Mexican market,” she said. “There’s nothing here like that. All the Mexican food here is fusion of Southwest Mexican.”
The Hinemans moved back to Vermont in 2011, settling in Bristol. After working part time jobs, the couple opened Taco Truck All Stars in May 2012 on Industrial Avenue in Middlebury.
“It was slow at first,” Charlotte Hineman said. “Once summer came around it picked up. We moved to festivals in Vermont and New York.”
Now, both Charlotte and Adam are devoted to the business full-time. Originally, the couple was using space in Burlington to prepare their food, but had to share with another business. When an opportunity to rent in downtown Bristol opened up, the couple jumped at it.
Starting in July 2013, the couple has leased the space at 26 Main St. from neighboring Snap’s Restaurant. Previously the space housed the Village Corner Store. While construction continues on the kitchen, the Hinemans have already made the mostly empty storefront their own. They’ve painted the walls and trim bright colors and suspended piñatas from the ceiling.
The couple has nearly two decades of combined food service experience, and Adam does most of the cooking.
“Right now the basic menu is tacos, corn tortillas, enchiladas, nachos and tostadas,” Charlotte Hineman said. “With the deli, we’ll hopefully have more Mexican cheeses, spiced sausages and other meat, as well as frozen tamales and gorditas.”
Bristol Mexican Market will carry products that can’t be found in most grocery stores. Along the shelves of the new space these goods are already on display — items such as Mexican oregano, Jamaica flour, packet spices, pork skins, and tamarind-based candy.
There are non-food items, too: Mexican oilcloth bags, blankets and luchador masks. Lucha libre, or “free wrestling,” is a form of professional wrestling popular in Latin America, where competitors, called luchadors, often wear colorful masks.
The couple also focuses on gluten-free cuisine.
“That’s new to this area — a lot of people aren’t familiar with gluten-free,” Charlotte Hineman said. “The people who are totally start to see us out there.”
In addition to the food trucks, Taco Truck All Stars also does gluten-free catering.
Charlotte Hineman said she thinks the business will find a niche in the community, and also attract migrant workers from around the county.
“We’re hoping to bring in more of the farming community because I know a lot of Mexicans work on the farms,” Hineman said.
Taco Truck All Stars is hosting a Day of the Dead party on Thursday, Oct. 31, from noon until 6 p.m. at their new space on Main Street. On the Mexican holiday, known as El Día de los Muertos, loved ones celebrate the lives of their deceased relatives by building altars decorated with photographs, mementos and the deceased’s favorite food or drink.
The Hinemans planned to use the celebration to get the word out about their business.
“People can try out our drinks and ask any questions they might have,” Charlotte Hineman said. “It’s mainly promoting the business, and trying to get the kitchen open so we can make Mexican food.”
In addition to snacks and drinks, the taco truck will be set up out back.
The couple is raising money to install a kitchen in the new space through the website gofundme.com. They hope to raise $5,000, and success at that means they would be able to open the deli.
Right now, the business has no employees, but they hope to expand in the future.
“Maybe during winter (we’ll) start looking for someone,” Hineman said. “We’re hoping to find someone who’s actually from Mexico to be in the store.”
In addition to other events, the taco truck will be at Stratton Mountain Resort this winter. Next year, the couple also hopes to add a new taco truck and operate a food cart on Church Street in Burlington.
Taco Truck All Stars’ fundraising site is www.gofundme.com/vtmexicandeli.
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