Fans of Totopo have a new lunchtime option on Washington Road Uptown.
Poco Loco Taco Co., a new quick and casual restaurant operated by the owners of Totopo, is located at 698 Washington Road, where Bull River Taco used to be.
Poco Loco caters to students or working professionals looking for a quick lunch. Students seemed to be frequent customers at Totopo, but they didn’t really want the whole sit-down restaurant experience, which gave owner Juan Grimaldo the idea to open Poco Loco. “We developed this concept with the students in mind. What’s better for a kid than a walking taco and a choco taco? So, let’s do that.”
The menu at Poco Loco is small. You’ll find nachos, burritos, quesadillas, build-your-own salads, tacos and everyone’s grab-and-go favorite, walking tacos, which are basically taco toppings layered into a bag of tortilla chips. So far, the biggest sellers are burrito bowls and dos tacos, which you can probably guess is two tacos.
For dessert, there’s the choco taco, a homemade chocolate taco with vanilla ice cream, or Pop Paleta, with your choice of a cookies and cream popsicle or a creamy mango popsicle served in a waffle boat.
“It’s still a work in progress, but I think, little by little we’ll keep improving,” said Grimaldo.
Sisters Estefany and Diana Suarez are managing Poco Loco. “It’s a new challenge,” Diana said. “You are learning every day. I’m learning so much and I really appreciate the opportunity.”
Among the three of them, everyone brings something different to the table. Estefany has a culinary arts degree and worked for JW Marriott, while Diana has a customer service background, having managed her mother’s salon in Venezuela. She also has a degree in industrial art. Grimaldo has been working in the restaurant business in Pittsburgh since he was 15.
Grimaldo credits Mt. Lebanon’s Halloween parade for introducing him to the community. “We came here for the Halloween parade and saw that Walnut Grill was for rent. That’s how I discovered the community here,” he said. And, the rest, as they say, is history, with Totopo opening in 2016.
In addition to Totopo and Poco Loco, Grimaldo and his wife, Danielle, own Tocayo, a more upscale Mexican restaurant in Shadyside, as well as two food trucks frequently spotted throughout the region. Grimaldo says the food trucks have been a great advertisement for his other restaurants. A Bloomfield location is currently in the works for use as a commissary kitchen for the food trucks.
“I always wanted a fast concept. Actually, after the pandemic, that’s when I was more encouraged to open a fast place. People got conditioned to the grab-and-go takeout concept,” Grimaldo pointed out.
In the spirit of Mt. Lebanon businesses helping other businesses, Grimaldo enjoyed collaborating with Bootstrap Design Company on Castle Shannon Boulevard, which helped create the brand, the logo and the color scheme of the new restaurant.
Poco Loco is open Monday to Saturday from 10:30 to 8:30 and Sunday from 10:30 to 7:30. You can also order online.