Every Day Is Taco Tuesday at This Freeport Eatery

You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Taco Tuesdays’ take on surf and turf.

It would be hard to make up a fairytale about a culinary couple better than the real-life, make-you-swoon story of Jessica McCabe and Jonathan Melendez. As the owners of Taco Tuesdays, the pair have created two (and counting) go-to spots for quick, casual, delicious food on Long Island and they’re continuing to redefine what we think of as Mexican cuisine.

The two twenty-somethings both had food trucks on the brain in 2014, when Melendez mentioned wanting to open an authentic taco truck and McCabe commented on seeing a bunch of food trucks around the Long Beach boardwalk area. They applied to the city immediately, and, after a few meetings and lots of research, opened the Taco Tuesdays food truck in the summer of 2015. They followed that up by opening a brick-and-mortar location on Freeport’s Nautical Mile in 2017.

“The biggest challenge would have to be the first few weeks of opening either location or any future locations,” McCabe said. “It’s really difficult to train new people to cook how we want, to plate correctly while giving superior customer service.”

Taco Tuesdays isn’t your typical Mexican eatery. I bet you’ve never had a churro like a Taco Tuesdays caramel stuffed churro. Let’s just say that again: caramel stuffed churro. If happiness had a taste it would be a bite into that sweet, sugary, fried goodness. And like all of Taco Tuesdays’ food, it starts with a dedication to shopping.

Some of us start our days with an oat milk latte while scrolling through the latest headlines on our phones. Melendez starts his by scouting out both small and big markets on Long Island, purchasing the ingredients that go on to create those churros and Taco Tuesdays’ other popular dishes such as their shrimp tacos, homemade beef and chicken empanadas and the Fry Bowl, a dish of mashed french fries with cilantro and onion, homemade avocado sauce, cream and hot sauce and a choice of pork, chicken, chorizo, steak, veggies, fish or shrimp.

“Jon, every morning, has a routine for shopping. He likes to go everyday to ensure freshness and consistency,” McCabe said. “Jon is the master behind all of our delicious food.”

Born into culinary magic, Melendez spent his childhood learning about the food industry from his parents, the owners of Don Juan Restaurants. McCabe who grew up going to the same Merrick high school as Melendez was studying advertising at FIT when she began working at Don Juan Restaurants. The two started dating and five years later, opened the Taco Tuesdays food truck.

“We have an unique situation where we have no indoor seating at either location,” McCabe said. So when people order from us they take their food to community benches. Very often, they take the extra time to come back and tell us how amazing everything was. That’s my favorite part. It always feels like a great accomplishment.”

McCabe and Melendez had always planned for their food truck to be seasonal, but their customers had other ideas and kept asking them to open year-round. It seemed like fate when they saw an old Ralph’s Italian Ices for rent along Freeport’s Nautical Mile with the perfect window for a cut of their food truck logo. While the Nautical Mile was once thought of seasonal in the past few years more and more places have been staying open year-round and Taco Tuesdays stays open to 2 a.m. on weekends as a late night option that isn’t fast food. They’ve also partnered with brewery BrewSA, which doesn’t serve its own food, so customers can order from Taco Tuesdays there.

“After 8 years together, two businesses, buying a home, a boat, and two furry children, Jon asked me to marry him! Lots of exciting things to come,” Mccabe said.