Nopalito, from the same team behind perennial Chronicle Top 100 restaurant Nopa, has permanently shuttered its Inner Sunset location. The expansion effort opened in 2012 to instant critical acclaim — bigger than the original Nopalito on Broderick Street, but with the same stellar carnitas, mole and fresh corn tortillas from chef-owner Gonzalo Guzman.
That larger size ultimately made it tougher for Guzman and partners Jeff Hanak, Allyson Jossel and Laurence Jossel to imagine keeping the restaurant alive.
“It’d be really tough for us to reopen because it was more of a dine-in restaurant,” Guzman said. “That restaurant doesn’t do as well as Broderick on to-go and it just takes more to be open — more staffing, more everything.”
It was also home to Nopalito’s catering operation — and all the events on Nopalito’s schedule this year have been canceled. “That really hurt us financially,” Guzman said.
The original Broderick Street location remains open for takeout, but the kitchen is too small to fulfill catering orders whenever demand returns. So the team is moving into a commercial kitchen space — shared with cooking school 18 Reasons — in the Mission District at 3690 18th St., steps away from Dolores Park. It also has a small takeout window, which Guzman hopes to open in mid-July.
He doesn’t have a specific menu in mind yet, but he’s contemplating totopos con chile, fresh tortilla chips coated in spicy salsa, and carnitas by the pound with tortillas on the side. That way, people could walk over to the park and make their own tacos.
“This window will hopefully help us survive until we get events back,” Guzman said.