During the dog days of summer, Stan's Cafecito hides behind a bamboo roller shade that provides cover for the few lucky guests who have snagged a stool at the window while they wait for their iced coffee or breakfast burritos. The tiny, table-less space in south Williamsburg houses a sparing kitchen with little more than an electric skillet and griddle; it would be easy to miss all together, if not for the line out the door.
Owner/chef Stan Tankursley is accustomed to a tight a space as he has spent the past few years running the popular food truck Eat Here Now Now Eat Here, but it's clear that his genial and welcoming personality is well suited for a brick and mortar neighborhood spot. If he's not too busy pushing orders out the window, you'll likely find yourself drawn into a conversation about one of his many bottles of hot sauce or his family in the Dominican Republic.
A handwritten menu offers only burritos, quesadillas, and a few select beverages. Stan will push you on his Breakfast Burrito ($5, $2 supplement for meat), and it's not a bad way to go. Soft scrambled eggs, sharp cheese, and strips of poblano pepper are wrapped up with your choice of meat. Add the chorizo—tangy, sweet, and garlicky, and then generously douse with Stan's green hot sauce, a smooth and peppery concoction that adds a pleasant heat to each bite.
The heartier Mango Coconut Chicken Burrito ($8) is a fine balance of sweet tropical fruit, rich coconut chicken, and a bright orange scotch bonnet sauce. The other burritos are a little more general in their flavor combinations, allowing for open customization. The Jambalaya Burrito ($8) typically comes with chicken but is vastly improved by substituting in the pulled pork, which saturates the Zatarain's rice with its sauce and juices.
Space limitations have forced Stan to keep his beverage selection small and idiosyncratic. Other than tea and french pressed coffee, there is only Manhattan Special's Espresso Soda and Fitz's Premium Root Beer, a smooth and creamy cane sugar soda from St. Louis. In its current state, Stan's Cafecito is a launch pad for grander ambitions; there are plans to expand into the adjacent space and grow the menu along with it.
Plenty of restaurants have good food, many with service to match, but that alone doesn't add up to a place you want to head back to again. The burritos at Stan's aren't particularly unique, but I can't deny how often I want to stop in for a bite and a cold beverage. Stan is on a first name basis with most of his customers, he knows what they do for a living, and what their orders are; in New York, that type of hospitality is hard to find.
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