The Local Flavor burrito shop at Broadway Presbyterian on 114th re-opened in early February.  They’re currently operating from 11-3 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so Bwog stopped by today to take some pictures and taste test.

,mnThe reincarnation of Local Flavor is more or less the same operation as last year – an experimental entrepreneurial project to employ homeless men and women in the city.  The big difference? A new chef named Elton, or “Hot Sauce” as he prefers to be called (more on that later).  Elton actually learned his craft last year during a six-week culinary program at Broadway Pres, and though he had offers for much better paying jobs, he decided to return to 114th this year to put some new life into Local Flavor.

kjhBetween then and now, though, he picked up tips and secrets from chefs at Spanish Harlem restaurants, which brings us back to his nickname and the remarkably distinguished flavor of the meat he prepares.  Hot Sauce wouldn’t tell me exactly what was in the seasoning.  He just slammed a container labeled “Good Stuff” on the counter and boasted 67 ingredients.  I tasted the chicken and, for fear of blaspheming my best friend’s mom’s cooking, I’ll just say that this stuff is on par with the best.  The only place that touches this in the neighborhood is Taqueria on a good day (and that’s anticipating Chipotle, too).

kjhElton also force-fed me some steak, some beans, a few drops of his namesake, and…a lot more of the chicken (“You can’t write about it if you don’t taste it!”).  I might be biased because my stomach’s still full, but everything was pretty delicious.  The hot sauce is Elton’s pride and joy; the stuff he uses in the kitchen is his own batch that he bottles and sells on the side (you can buy bottles at Local Flavor).  The “medium” sauce was tangy and surprisingly creamy, and it carried enough scorch that the other cook had half a bagel waiting for me.  Elton makes “hot” too and he “can make it even hotter” if you do a special order.

Local Flavor’s only open two days a week right now, but if business builds they’ll try out some Saturday hours.  Besides the convenient location, the good cause, and the really nice staff, the food is great.  For some reason everyone who works there keeps pushing the steak, but the chicken burrito might be the best way to eat five dollars in the neighborhood. 

– Bryan Mochizuki