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Taco Master Julian Medina Plans Two New Restaurants

His Grand Central taqueria is expanding to Harlem

La Chula taco
A taco from La Chula, opening in Harlem this fall
La Chula

Chef Julian Medina — who’s behind neighborhood favorites like Yerba Buena and Tacuba — will be changing up his Latin American restaurant empire with two new restaurants this fall.

A spin-off of Medina’s popular Latin brunch destination called Yerba Buena Cantina will be taking over 205 Thompson Street, where he previously ran a location of Mexican bistro Toloache. The chef shut down the West Village location of Yerba Buena earlier this year. At this Greenwich Village location, Medina and Toloache Restaurant Group will serve a similar menu with notes from cuisines of Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina. It will also have a bigger bar menu, with tequila, rum, and whiskey.

The chef’s Grand Central Station taqueria La Chula will plant a new location in Harlem, at 137 East 116th Street near Lexington Avenue. Here, the 45-seat restaurant will offer tacos stuffed with lengua, sweet potato, chorizo, and al pastor. Burritos and ceviche will also be on the menu.

Medina is not necessarily a New York dining scene household name, but over the years, he has built roster of restaurants across Manhattan with solid local reputations. After this fall, he will have eight restaurants to his name, including 24-hour diner Coppelia and an outpost of Tacuba in Astoria. Eater critic Ryan Sutton calls Medina’s Midtown location of Tacuba “a gem” with excellent tacos, as well as entrees like steamed branzino.

Expect Yerba Buena Cantina to open at some point this fall and for La Chula to make its debut next month.

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