Prieto closes in LynLake, to open in Tangletown

Chef Alejandro Castillon Prieto
Chef Alejandro Castillon Prieto is preparing to open a new location of his namesake restaurant, Prieto, at 48th & Nicollet in the coming weeks. He recently closed the original LynLake location. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

Prieto Taqueria has closed in LynLake, but the restaurant’s quality tacos will still be available in Southwest Minneapolis when its new location opens in Tangletown.

Chef Alejandro Castillon Prieto shut the doors of his namesake restaurant at the corner of Lake & Lyndale Sept. 12, after a year and four months at the location.

He’s been planning to open a new shop under the same name at 48th & Nicollet for months, and the pandemic and the decline in business since the civil unrest along Lake Street forced him to rethink the LynLake location. It was a tough decision, he said, but one that seemed necessary given current business conditions.

“It’s ridiculous to have a business in Uptown right now,” he said.

The restaurant is nearing completion and will likely open in October, once a liquor license is secured from the city. While the menu will still be heavy on tacos, there will be some changes for the Tangletown restaurant, Castillon Prieto said.

The LynLake location had inherited a massive meat smoker from the Hasty Tasty restaurant and had put it to good use. But moving the massive woodfire oven is expensive and impractical, so Castillon Prieto is going back to more traditional taco preparations. His new location is a former gas station site, so the kitchen crew was able to set up the kitchen as they saw fit.

He and his wife recently returned from a trip to his native Mexico, where they sought taco inspiration in various regions: carnitas from Michoacán, al pastor from Mexico City and asado tacos from his home state of Sonora.

“Every night when we were there, we ate the asado tacos,” Castillon Prieto said with a laugh.

At the new location, the plan is to have six tacos inspired by six Mexican states. There will be some appetizers and tortas, but the menu will be simpler than at LynLake, with the focus on the ingredients and only cilantro and salsa for toppings. Also on offer will be fresh ceviche, prepared behind the bar. When COVID conditions subside, he plans to add a full salsa bar so guests can easily try all the house-made salsas at their leisure.

Service will also be more casual — a countertop-only model minimizing contact between staff and diners.

“I feel like it’s better for us and for the customer,” Castillon Prieto said.

Takeout and delivery service are also in the works. He wants to hire staff delivery drivers instead of relying on third-party services like DoorDash, which take a heavy cut.

Prieto
4749 Nicollet Ave.