BäcoShop is restaurateur Josef Centeno's first foray beyond downtown, where his five other restaurants dominate the couple of blocks where Main and Fourth streets meet. It's based on the food item that defines Bäco Mercat, his original downtown restaurant, the bäco — a Centeno-invented folded flatbread that is part sandwich, part taco. Like Chipotle, the format at BäcoShop is a choose-your-own-adventure menu: You select a protein, maybe chili shrimp or slow-roasted pork, and then decide if you want it served as a bäco, a bäcorrito (like a bäco but in burrito rather than taco form) or a bowl. There are a ton of creative vegetable sides to choose from, and you can get any three of them as a plate for $12. The thing that impresses me most is how hard Centeno and co. have thought about all the things that are missing from the usual fast-casual experience. Vegetables, yes, but also decent beer and wine, desserts you'd actually want to eat, and solutions for busy families, like the “Bäco packs,” available after 5 p.m., in which you can get two, four or eight Bäcos with sides and cookies. BäcoShop is a concept that deserves to multiply.
Credit: Frank Lee