Yellow Door Taqueria Opens Next Week in Dorchester
The Lower Mills neighborhood in Dorchester is about to get its own tacos-and-tequila joint when Yellow Door Taqueria opens next week, and the menu comes from a true taco lover. Colton Coburn-Wood, who opened the ’hood’s relatively new Lower Mills Tavern as executive chef just last June, is at the helm of its new sister spot.
While Coburn-Wood has long wanted to open a taco shop, the timeline for it to happen is exciting for the 27-year-old up-and-comer. Yellow Door is the latest from restaurateur Brian O’Donnell and his business partner Ken Casey, who also fronts the Dropkick Murphys. The duo also own Lower Mills Tavern, the new Ink Block cocktail bar, Lion’s Tail; McGreevey’s, and other local restaurants. O’Donnell’s wife, HGTV personality Taniya Nayak, designed the taqueria.
O’Donnell, who lives minutes away in Milton’s Lower Mills neighborhood, jumped on the former Dark Horse Antiques space when it became available. Coburn-Wood is a co-owner with this latest concept.
“I’m very invested in this project specifically,” says Coburn-Wood, a New England native who’s spent a lot of time in Arizona and California. “I’m overly excited for this to open.”
Before joining the Lower Mills Tavern team, Coburn-Wood was chef de cuisine at Chris Douglass’ Ashmont Grill. He has also cooked at Ken Oringer’s defunct Fenway taqueria, La Verdad; Petit Robert, Abbey Lane, which McDonnell co-owns; and Hamersley’s Bistro, among other spots. At Yellow Door, his fine dining experience permeates the succinct menu of tacos and ceviches.
“I have a pretty large background in French and Latin food, so I think I draw a lot of inspiration from those cuisines,” he says.
House-made masa tortillas will be loaded with elevated proteins, like duck confit infused with chilis and Mexican oregano; and Jonah crab, with a range of flavorful accouterments ($4-$6). Coburn-Wood is planning just a couple ceviches to start, including scallop with a habanero-tequila-lime gastrique, mango and jicama salsa, and house corn nuts for crunch. Check out the opening menu below, though it will grow as the team gets comfortable.
“I know what I like—I like there to be a lot of levels of flavor. Like a chorus almost, there needs to be a bass, a middle part, and a high part,” Coburn-Wood says. “I always like something crunchy and crispy, too.”
In addition to regional products, he’s sourcing a variety of different chilis from the farm at Verde Valley School in Arizona. When the chef went out there last year for his sister’s graduation, he toured the school’s farm with manager Mike Speilman, and the two have stayed in touch, Coburn-Wood says. In addition to hard-to-find pepper varieties like cuatro milpas, pasilla, lemon drop, and ancho, Speilman will also provide a shipment of prickly pears early this fall, Coburn-Wood says, which the chef will preserve as a jam for his pork belly taco.
Coburn-Wood has a team at Lower Mills Tavern who will hold things down while Yellow Door—just a couple storefronts away—ramps up. At the taqueria, the chef has built a team of people he’s worked with for years, including a cook he first met at La Verdad.
Yellow Door Taqueria is designed with the space’s history in mind—Nayak preserved the original maroon and white tile floor from the shop’s days as an apothecary. The spot’s teal color scheme is inspired by the Pacific and Gulf coasts, she says.
Just more than 1,100 square feet, the narrow space has a 15-seat, granite bar, stocked with ample tequila and mezcal; low tables with a bench spanning the restaurant, and wooden chairs. The kitchen is at the back of the room, and food will come out through a small window into the dining room, reminiscent of a traditional taco truck.
The taqueria opens Monday, July 24—conveniently, National Tequila Day—at 4 p.m.
Yellow Door Taqueria, opening Monday, July 24, 2297 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Facebook.
Yellow Door Taqueria
Carnitas – pork confit, cotija, salsa, verde, refried beans, red onion, cilantro, chicharrones
Azteca – tequila-habanero braised beef, salsa ranchero, onion bacon jam, pickled red onion, crispy tortilla strings
Colorado – stewed pork, escabeche, queso fresco, jicama, crema, cilantro
Pork Belly – crispy picante pork belly, queso de cabra, roasted beets, Mike’s prickly pear jam
Cangrejo – local crab a la plancha, blue corn puree chipotle beans, shredded napa cabbage, mango, red onion
Duck Confit – Chamomile vanilla plantain puree, duck cracklings, crema, cilantro, pickled red onions, plantain strings
Scallop – habanero-tequila-lime-cumin gastrique, mango & jicama salsa, corn nuts, cilantro
Yellow Tail – Papaya & mint salsa, aji Amarillo-lemon marmalade, cucumber, cilantro
Mexicali Salad – jicama, chayote, radish, mixed greens, geeen papaya, chile de arbol, lime vinaigrette
Chips and Salsa – $5
Chips and Guacamole – $6
Six Corn Tortillas To Go – $5
Buy The Kitchen a 6-Pack – $24