In the wake of Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield stepping away from Salvation Taco following explosive allegations of sexual misconduct against Friedman, Empellón chef and co-owner Alex Stupak has swooped in to take over the Mexican restaurant in the Murray Hill Pod 39 Hotel, the Times reports.
For now, Stupak isn’t changing the name or menu of Salvation Taco, which is owned by the hotel after Bloomfield and Friedman’s departure — Stupak says that he’s “only behind the scenes” at the moment. But that will change come fall, when he plans to flip the restaurant into something similar to Empellón al Pastor, his East Village restaurant that serves tacos, cocktails, and bar snacks.
He’s also keeping the current staff, including the restaurant’s longtime chef de cuisine Davri Zainoeddin, though he does manage a mini-dig by telling the Times, “There has been no dialogue about cuisine here for quite a while, so I’m looking forward to changing that.”
Friedman and Bloomfield opened the restaurant in 2012 with tacos, tortas, and other Mexican staples, but it was never a critical darling like their other restaurants the Spotted Pig or the Breslin. The Empellón empire, on the other hand, has been a consistent hit, especially for the desserts served at Empellón Midtown — even if the savory tacos didn’t get quite the same reception. Stupak’s Empellón currently has three locations in Manhattan.