Tacos El Último Baile
Food truck: 22nd and Telegraph avenues
New location: 3340 E. 12th St. (Fruitvale Public Market, next to Fruitvale Village), Oakland
Opening target: September 2022
Last Saturday, Dominic Prado’s life took an unsuspected turn. Prado, the owner of Tacos El Último Baile, a wildly popular Oakland food truck got an opportunity that he thought was lost.
Soon, Prado will open a permanent location in the heart of Fruitvale, at 3340 E. 12th St. inside Fruitvale Public Market, next to Fruitvale Village. This is huge news for the region’s taco fans: Prado’s street-style tacos, which are influenced by New Mexican, Southwestern and Norteño cuisine, draw hours-long lines at his truck’s location at 22nd and Telegraph avenues.
According to Prado, he believed that the space, which was last home to Nite Yun’s recently shuttered Cambodian restaurant Nyum Bai, had already found a new tenant. But over the weekend, Yun reached out to Prado to let him know that the previous deal had fallen through.
“On Monday, I met up with her, and went through the space,” Prado told Nosh. “We started figuring out the next steps and how we can make it happen.”
The last dance is still far off for Oakland’s Tacos El Ultimo Baile
Part of how to make it happen is a GoFundMe campaign, which Prado announced earlier this week, a social media post since amplified by publications like SF Gate and Eater SF. He’s hoping to generate $80,000 to fund a brick-and-mortar version of Tacos El Último Baile. If he can hit that goal — he’s just surpassed $6,000 as of publication time — Prado will sign the lease on his new restaurant on Aug. 1.
“If everything goes well, we can open by September,” he said.
He is looking forward to having a permanent space to offer more of what his faithful customers already know and love, tacos in handmade flour tortillas made by Tortillas De Harina MamaCuca.
“Don’t forget to tell them the type of food we make, grilled meat, estilo norte,” he said. As for the menu, Prado is excited to incorporate some of the “specials” (like carnitas) from the truck as a permanent fixture. He also plans on having Sunday specials like pozole, menudo or birria.
“I have no reason to change what’s already been successful for me,” he said. “With the understanding that I’m going to a different market. I want to be aware of that.”
He also has plans to sell his food truck. “I would sell it today if I could find a buyer,” he said. He’s well aware, though, that his truck has been an important place for many diners.
“It warms my heart when I see immigrants, first-generation people come by the trailer and give me props,” he said. He hopes those folks will follow him to the new space, where he hopes he’ll have more time to chat with every customer and get to know them better, something he isn’t always able to do while he is behind the hot grill inside the truck.
While his focus will remain on developing the restaurant, private events are not out of the question. The Oakland A’s are one of his biggest private clients.
Opening a brick-and-mortar in Fruitvale is special for him. The name of his business means “the last dance,” and was inspired by his dance-loving grandmother, Prado told Nosh last year. She raised him, and was his biggest influence. “Do your best mijo. That’s what she would always say,” Prado said. “And I think that I’m doing my best.”
But first, he has to fund the business, so he’s crossing his fingers that the GoFundMe is a success. While Prado said that the monthly rent of the space feels affordable compared to other commercial spaces for lease in Oakland, opening a business anywhere in the Bay Area isn’t cheap.
Prado said that he chose GoFundMe over Kickstarter or other platforms where people can invest rather than donate, because “I like the straightforwardness of GoFundMe.”
“On Kickstarter you have to meet your goal,” he said. “People already know me. I’m going into this with the right intentions.”
Follow Tacos El Último Baile on Instagram for more updates about the new location and the truck’s last days in business.