There is a lot of excitement about ongoing renovations in downtown White River Junction at 129 South Main. In fact, it’s contagious to the point that I have decided to join the enthusiasm- and not just by taste this time- but by stoking it. TRAIL BREAK taps + tacos is alive and rising with tables set, lights adjusting, glasses shelved and stores amassing.
Besides what you might read right here, a visit to the website is an absolute must. It is a site bursting with an altogether unique exuberance and fabulous descriptions of what's in store for the next big success in town. Check out their welcome in The Lowdown! Click here
October 6th marked their first ‘open house experiment’...And it was a frantic success with over 350 sample-sized tacos devoured and a few of their 28 draft lines flowing with tasty brews from River Roost and Upper Pass.
Topher Lyons is the mastermind at the helm. He is the type of person who probably wakes at four, drives to the New England coast to catch the latest hurricane wave then roars back home for some thigh-crunching hill climb - all the while contriving the next best crave-worthy taco to pitch to chef Dennis Marcoux and potentially add to the menu. With a few soft openings (and perhaps another pop-up taco night or two) coming up, Topher’s goal is not just a wicked meal, but one that is served in an equally epic environment. Their motto says it all: KICK BACK + CHOW DOWN + DRINK UP.
Lyons is a California native and graduate of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics. Dennis Marcoux is master of the kitchen and a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. After several culinary adventures, including Delaware’s Dogfish Head Alehouse, he has now settled with his family in the Upper Valley.
A few minor tweaks are ongoing, but think of the Crunchy Mushy Mess whose main component is deep-fried avocado stuffed with ancho lime chicken and a local cheese blend. The Fried (taco) boasts tortilla-crusted, fried ocean perch, watermelon-cucumber pico, lime crema and micro cilantro, all cozied up in an organic stone-ground tortilla made locally by Vermont Tortilla Co. Also underway, as I stood mesmerized in the kitchen, was test discussion of a vegan choco taco as well as some churros with just the right dipping sauce.
The Choco Taco
Along with the taco selections and vegetarian options, like a grilled watermelon salad with kale mix and pineapple vinaigrette, rotating signature drinks will accompany the drafts. Dennis is perfecting an agua fresca, for example, with grilled orange, roasted poblano peppers and local honey.
Apart from the main space with brightly designed tabletops, there is a stunning 14-foot long red oak community table created by Curiosity Woodworks in Barnard, Vt. The TRAIL BREAK logo has been artfully flushed in with black walnut, and a river bursting with inky shades of cerulean epoxy runs down the table’s center. There is also an 18-foot shuffleboard table in the back lounge, which is the clever work of Fletcher Creations in WRJ, and a refurbished ski chair from Magic Mountain dangles in the center of the room.
Topher and Dennis are in the home stretch and aiming to open at the beginning of November; the Facebook updates are now plentiful. As a matter of fact, with finishing touches ongoing, they are gearing up to launch the “Save A Stomach, Adopt A Taco!” gift card promo, a sort of CSA on taco steroids. Click here. It’s a way to reward the patient taco-fanatics (and volunteers who put in countless hours) who have kept the enthusiasm alive from empty commercial space through pending grand opening.
Empty commercial space through pending grand opening
I sometimes ask myself why I am writing about this place instead of just applying for a job. Word is: they’re also hiring!
The sheer beauty of grilled watermelon
The buzz is brazen and the anticipation barefaced- to such an extent that I am confident that the star quality of the White River Junction food scene is about to go Supernova.
For the TRAIL BREAK taps + tacos Facebook link, click here
A special thanks to La Boutique Photography in Quechee, Vt.