The chef is expanding his East Village bar to a bigger location in Murray Hill.
Alex Stupak, a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2013, already has three spots throughout New York City: his flagship, Empellón, a more casual West Village taqueria, and the graffiti-laden East Village bar known as Al Pastor. And today, he’s opening a fourth: another Al Pastor, this one located at the POD 39 hotel in New York City's Murray Hill neighborhood.
All of Stupak's restaurants are what he calls "Mexican-inspired," featuring dishes that are influenced by traditional Mexican cuisine but also have an American twist, like curly fries with tomatillo ketchup. "We reserve a stance that we are not Mexican, and this is not a Mexican restaurant, but we are Americans who are endlessly fascinated with Mexico," Stupak says.
The original Al Pastor opened in 2014 and quickly became a place to grab tacos and a couple of drinks. While the latest addition to Stupak’s Empellón empire marks the first time he has ever duplicated a concept, the chef sees the original as more of a bar while the new one—with its hosts, servers, and lunch menu—has the vibe of a sit-down restaurant.
Stupak is bringing several fan favorites over from the original Al Pastor, including the famed cheeseburger tacos. There will also be brand new items, like broiled oysters, fried chicken sandwiches, and pork fried rice. Yet as a former pastry chef (a role Stupak filled for several years at both Alinea and WD~50), Stupak is perhaps most excited about dessert. He didn’t put any sweet treats on the first Al Pastor menu, but the new one will start by offering two options: crunchy corn masa ice cream bars and pineapple with five other flavors. "They’re thoughtful and they’re exotic and they’re exciting," Stupak says.
Empéllon Al Pastor (145 E 39th St., New York, NY 10016) is currently accepting reservations for lunch and dinner.