After driving his bright red AL CARAJO trailer around town at locations like Spark Social and District Six, chef-owner Javier León has found a brick-and-mortar location in the Mission for his Mayan restaurant, which will have both his classic Yucatecan dishes as well as his creative and seasonally inspired dishes, too. You may recognize him from behind the bar at Loló, but during the pandemic, he started working on his culinary concept instead.
Since he’s taking over the former Breakfast Little space (it’s next door to the House of Dim Sum), León decided to launch with breakfast service, offering a breakfast burrito (with potato and chorizo), chilaquiles with eggs and chicken tinga (he serves them in a Chinese takeout box!), and some classic Yucatecan breakfast dishes, like huevos motuleños (similar to huevos rancheros, but with a fried tomato sauce, ham, peas, and platanos on the side) and a torta de huevo (the omelet inside includes mint, with pickled red onion on top, and black beans). It all sounds so good, and he’ll also have some special secret menu items (IYKYK.)
His truck menu featured dishes like aguachile Tulum with tiger shrimp with recado negro (smoky charred chile condiment), lime, cucumber, serrano chile, cilantro, and onions; and ceviche yucateco, along with classic Yucatecan panuchos and salbutes. He’s going to continue to offer these popular dishes at the new restaurant. He makes everything from scratch, so all the flavors and ingredients really pop.
The truck also had a variety of tacos, from classic cochinita to fish tacos, plus a quesito rico taco with tiger shrimp, griddled cheese, special chorizo from LA, potato, and onions, all in a flour tortilla. Boom. His al pastor negro should also be on the restaurant menu, plus his birria pizza with flour tortillas, and a chicken tinga quesadilla. He said he’ll rotate some specials on in the evening hours.
It’s a tiny spot, with room for a few tables inside and outside, so it’s going to feel like a party. The space has a crisp look with a red-and-white interior and some plants. León probably won’t see his beer and wine license until early next year, so it will be BYO for now.
The targeted opening date is Thursday October 20th. Hours will be daily 7am-2pm, and Fri-Sat until 9pm or so—he’ll adjust hours based on what the neighborhood wants. Keep up with opening updates and more on their Instagram at @alcarajosf. Provecho! 3224 1/2 22nd St. at Bartlett.
Al Carajo’s incredible quesito rico taco, with tiger shrimp, griddled cheese, chorizo, potato, and onions, in a flour tortilla. Photo courtesy of Al Carajo.