While everyone else in Brooklyn was busy nursing sourdough starters last spring, André Mack was shopping for a stone mill.
The founder of Brooklyn hospitality group & Sons — and a nationally-recognized sommelier, winemaker, and author — Mack is building a reputation for opening cozy, neighborhood spaces that are mildly fanatical about ingredient sourcing, like Ham Bar and adjacent specialty grocery shop Buttery. During the pandemic, as diners stuck closer to home and others relied exclusively on nearby shops for food, Mack saw more opportunities to build on that approach.
Now, one mid-pandemic stone mill purchase later, Mack is opening up a tiny, 50-square-foot breakfast taco spot called Mockingbird in Prospect Lefferts Garden this Saturday, at 469 Rogers Avenue, between Maple Street and Lincoln Road. It’s open four days a week, with four staple tacos on the menu, using tortillas made from flour that the company mills itself.
The four tacos, each priced at $6, include potato and egg; chorizo and egg; bacon, egg, and cheese; and bean and cheese. The orange-hued eggs are sourced from Ameraucana chickens, known for producing blue eggs with dark amber yolks. Other ingredients include Rancho Gordo midnight black beans, bacon from chef-favorite purveyor Benton’s in Tennessee, and housemade chorizo. The cheese, a smoked Barnburner cheddar from Grafton Village in Vermont, is sprinkled on right before each taco is rolled up, allowing it to melt into the bacon or the beans after it is tucked into a foil wrapper.
Each taco comes with a choice of three sauces, including a mojo verde and a chimichurri with sorrel and jalapeño, and there will be one rotating vegan taco available weekly in addition to the four main options. A small handful of drinks, including nitro cold brew and Topo Chico, round out the menu.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Mack says of Mockingbird. Instead, Mack and & Sons culinary director Nico Bouter are simply honing in on constructing the best traditional version of breakfast tacos that they can.
Mack grew up on breakfast tacos in San Antonio, Texas, which he is quick to specify as the original home of the popular food — not Austin. “The world was introduced to breakfast tacos through South by Southwest,” Mack says. “To me, it’ll always be something from San Antonio.” After moving to NYC in 2004 to take a position as the head sommelier at Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin-starred Per Se, he was surprised to see a lack of breakfast tacos in the city.
Now, Mockingbird joins a spate of other breakfast taco newcomers that have sprouted up recently, including Yellow Rose in the East Village and King David’s first brick-and-mortar spot in Prospect Heights.
After Mockingbird gets underway, Mack has more PLG expansion plans in the works. & Sons will be running an oyster bar pop-up out of Mockingbird’s space on weekend evenings this summer, with an eye toward eventually making the oyster bar another permanent restaurant in the neighborhood. That stone mill that the company procured during the pandemic will also fuel a PLG bakery that & Sons is opening this summer, called Chickadee. And after the oyster bar pop-up runs its course, Mockingbird will host visiting chefs from outside of the city for regular pop-ups out of the space.
“I spent the last decade on a plane every single week,” says Mack, who lives in PLG with his family. “It is really cool to be able to [now] share our world with our neighborhood.”
Mockingbird is open Thursday through Sunday, from 7 a.m. until the tacos are sold out. The shop is takeout-only to start, with delivery to follow. Roadside outdoor seating is available on a first come, first serve basis.