Roll Out: LES Calexico May Be the Start of an Empire

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Cal-Mex for all. Photo: Courtesy Calexico

Affable Aussie fish joint Bondi Road will ride its final wave into the sunset later this summer to accommodate the first full-service Manhattan location of Calexico, the Cal-Mex burrito and beer joint owned and operated by brothers Brian, Dave, and Jesse Vendley with partner Peter Oleyer. Earlier this summer, word dropped that Calexico had nabbed the Blue Ribbon Sushi space in Park Slope, meaning operations would include two carts and four restaurants in the near future. Now it seems there may be even more Calexicos on the way, even outside city lines.

The chainlet, it turns out, may be turning into a bona fide franchise looking to expand to other cities. Restaurant-chain-minded entrepreneur Anthony Fauci, who will also opening the Manhattan flagship of the Toronto-based burger chain Big Smoke Burger sometime before the end of this year (he says it'll land either in midtown west or near Chambers Street), is part of the team opening Calexico at 153 Rivington Street. Fauci, who is not an investor at Calexico Park Slope, says he expects the LES location to be open by the end of the year, adding that he's a great admirer of the restaurant's vibe. "Jesse [Vendley] and I are concentrating very much on this first location," he says, while mentioning there are already plans in the works to take the chain-ified Big Smoke Burger, and its fast-casual poutine, to Chicago. "But," Fauci adds, "I could also see Calexico doing very well in Chicago."

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