This is Tacos Chukis. And the first rule of Tacos Chukis is you don’t talk about Tacos Chukis. It’s your secret spot. Of course the problem with this rule is that this humble hole in the wall is a lot of people’s secret spot. Naturally word has gotten out, so Tacos Chukis is expanding. A new location is opening this October in South Lake Union, the teeming tech hub of Seattle.
What seemed like an impossible fever dream of a restaurant will now be recreated in an affluent neighborhood flooded by a steady stream of tech transplants. Tacos Chukis is no longer hidden. It’s out in the open. Can it survive?
“This couldn’t happen anywhere else,” owner Roberto Salmerón tells me one evening, relaxed against a post outside his busy restaurant and gesturing to the front door. “I came into this with no expectations. If it worked out, great. If it didn’t, no biggie.”
That’s a pretty startling statement for an immigrant-turned-businessman who started a successful restaurant straight out of college. Salmerón, originally from Tijuana (and later San Diego), graduated from the University of Washington in 2010 with an economics degree. With limited job prospects, he decided to ride a bike over 1,200 miles from Seattle to Tijuana to visit family and eat some of the delicious street tacos he remembered enjoying as a child.