In the mood for a chicken tikka taco with tahini, pistachio-cinnamon dukkha and Greek yogurt, topped with crispy onions? Or maybe you’d prefer the kind of creamy ham fritters you’d expect to get in Madrid? Both are on the menu at La Prensa Tacos & Tapas, which will open at Nokes Plaza in Sterling as soon as late fall. The upcoming opening was first reported in The Burn.
La Prensa is the brainchild of Santosh Tiptur, the chef-owner of The Conche in Leesburg. The project has been in the works for two years, when Tiptur decided it was time to expand. “We were talking about, ‘Hey, what’s next? Let’s start a fast-casual restaurant.’ It’s going to be easier to execute. Tacos can be anything,” he recalls.
Tiptur says that he became passionate about Mexican food while cooking on a cruise ship. Particularly in Acapulco, where the boat would dock for two or three days, he became enchanted with the freshness of the food he tried. “Simple but flavorful,” he remembers. The goal, he says, is to replicate the freshness of Mexican food with the quality of The Conche. Besides that chicken tikka taco, other possible fillings include everything from braised short ribs with crispy potatoes and bacon jam to classic al pastor, uncommonly using pork belly.
The Sterling location is surrounded by offices, so it’s busy during the day, but Tiptur realized he also needed a more upscale experience to draw in visitors at night. “We thought maybe we need to do a different ambiance in the evening—focus on wines and sangria and margaritas. It’s going to change during dinnertime. That’s the vision. We want people to come and sit down and enjoy,” he says. That’s where traditional Spanish tapas come in.
But don’t forget about dessert. As a pastry chef, Tiptur says sweets “will always be a highlight.” And yes, some of them will be chocolate-focused, though nothing on The Conche’s menu will transfer to La Prensa.
Before the coronavirus hit, Tiptur was planning to open La Prensa on Cinco de Mayo. The project had to be completely put on hold for three months. But when it opens, Sterling will be ready for tacos, tapas and something sweet. Luckily for taco lovers, it’s not the only taco shop coming to Sterling. InsideNova reported that the space that was once home to Mokomandy will reopen its doors this fall as Locals Tacos & Tequila, part of the Velocity Wings chain. // 21305 Windmill Parc Drive, Suite 140, Sterling
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