Just a few short weeks ago, the staff at was selling burritos from outside the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day.
Now, the taquería is one of Newport’s hottest new eateries.
The food is authentic Mexican, even boasting homemade corn tortillas.
In co-owner Andi Johnson’s words, it’s “fast, fresh and delicious.” Johnson and her husband also own Perro Salado, the taqueria’s fancier, pricier parent restaurant.
“We wanted to open something more casual,” she said.
The restaurant also emulates a small Mexican grocería, with avocados, onions and seasonings on sale for the ambitious customers who want to recreate their dishes, or who just want to spice up their own meals at home.
Authentic candies, just fifty cents, hang from a metal basket by the cashier.
The El Perrito crew took a trip to Los Angeles and went on a taco eating tour to make sure their food could compare to traditional dishes.
“It was the best place next to Mexico to get inspired,” she said.
El Perrito didn’t just borrow its name from . The menu is inspired by it, too, Johnson said.
She said the menu was drawn from Perro Salado with faster, more casual eating in mind, while maintaining the same character.
The process started about a year and a half ago. The taqueria, which took the place of Pick Pockets Deli, began materializing in January. It took just a month and a half for El Perrito to take shape.
Johnson said for a new restaurant, the restaurant has already developed a loyal clientele, some of which she attributes to the followers of Perro Salado.
“It’s rewarding building something from nothing,” she said.