Downtown steakhouse shell to house Florida’s Rocco’s Tacos

Ay Caramba! Morton’s empty space to be filled with Mexican restaurant

The Brooklyn Paper
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There’s no need to run for the border anymore.

Brooklyn appears to be erupting with Mexican food restaurants. Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, and potentially Chipotle Mexican Grill, will be opening new outposts Downtown.

Rocco’s Tacos has signed a 15-year lease for the ground floor at 339 Adams St., according to the restaurant. It’s taking over the space near Fulton Street where Morton’s Steakhouse — which closed in February 2012 — once resided.

This will be the first New York location for the Florida-based chain. The new restaurant is expected to open by winter 2014.

On top of that, One Metrotech Center — la casa of Brooklyn Paper — is likely to get a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant, according to sources in the know who say the burrito bar will move in next store to the Au Bon Pain at the corner of Lawence Street. That space was previously the home to a Chinese restaurant know to many Metrotechers as the “worst-case scenario.”

The first Rocco’s Tacos was founded in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2007. But New York native Rocco Mangel has long wanted to open a restaurant in the city. It’s in his blood, he says, his grandfather was the general manager of Copacabana.

“I’m beyond excited to introduce the Rocco’s Tacos brand to the New York market,” Mangel said. “Growing up in Long Island, I always hoped to open a restaurant in my home state. Brooklyn is a thriving borough that I love and I’m confident that we will be a great addition to the vibe and dining culture.”

The Chipotle will be the third new restaurant to open in Metrotech in the past two years, joining both Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Cafe La Defense, which also has a bar.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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Reader Feedback

The Chooch from your ghetto says:
Five Guys Burgers is the best thing that's ever happened to Fulton Mall. And a Mexican trend bodes well. We're starting to get really good tasting, zesty food in the notoriously bland Flatbush-Borough Hall valley, a place that has until now eluded the culinary Risorgimento of the neighborhoods thereabouts.
July 10, 2013, 8:45 am
T-Bone from DoBro says:
Chooch, I think you mean Shake Shack. I think the Fulton Five Guys did not last long. That street has a ways to go, but it's coming.

And, I'll let you all in on a little secret... Mr. Bone had a guilty pleasure of going to Wok n' Roll (usually Wednesdays). I guess you could call it Hipster irony.
July 10, 2013, 9:49 am
The Chooch from Flatbush Valley says:
The Chooch stands corrected, Mr. Bone. Yes, it is Shake Shack. And even that stands really just outside the Mall. Yes, a ways to go. It's like a souk in there!
July 10, 2013, 10:25 am
A from WB says:
I go to Rocco's Tacos in's pretty good, a little on the expensive side
July 10, 2013, 10:29 am
the Chooch from Mexican Brooklyn says:
Hey, give the new place a chance, Patty. Mexican food is good and getting better. Not the case with all Latin cuisine or with a lot of cuisine in the city for that matter. This city thrives on new blood, always has, whether they're hipsters or Hindustanis.
July 10, 2013, 4:13 pm
the Chooch from the Brooklyn Renaissance says:
HA! Okay, Patty I'll hand that one to you. Not exactly what the Chooch meant, but okay, you scored one.

Still, the Chooch will give a new restaurant a chance before passing judgment. Back in the day in Williamsburg, when the hippies first started opening restaurants, there were some very good ones. And there was also a terrible one I remember. We'll just have to see ... and taste. A lot of Mexican chefs came up from washing dishes in 5-star restaurants, and they apprenticed under some of the greatest French chefs. The result has been a renaissance in Mexican cuisine in the past 30 years or so. So the Chooch is hopeful.
July 10, 2013, 5:11 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Something is better than nothing. I have to walk past that spot almost every day, and it's sad to see it just sit there vacant. if only they could do something about the ugliest building in the world across the street (the Courthouse).
July 11, 2013, 1:07 am
Chi Chi from Williamsburg says:
Mexican Disney. Been there done that in Boca & PGA.. not the cool Capitals of Florida. Pretty but ordinary hash house tacos. Looks and feels like a Chain. Uncool. Unhipster.
Aug. 11, 2013, 6:24 pm
Starla from Williamsburg says:
Was serving jury duty and noticed Roccos - ugh! been to the one in Orlando for a company dinner and it looked like the clearance section at homegoods threw up all over the space. Not to mention the food was sub-par and overpriced. I agree with others and think it's crazy they signed a 15yr lease - I don't see a big Mexican chain like this making it - people want authentic Mexican not some gringos interpretation of it who went to Mexico for spring break 98
Aug. 18, 2014, 2:15 pm

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