Nestled into an idyllic spot on Main Street next to several other successful businesses in town, and with plenty of parking, you’ll find East Coast Taco. Owners Adam and Michelle Briasco serve up fresh Tex-Mex favorites made to order at their ma & pa taqueria.
While Michelle handles the financial end of the business, Adam is the Chef. He makes everything at East Coast Taco, including the salsa, chips, queso, guacamole and hot sauce. Michelle says of Adam, “Making hot sauces and salsa is his thing. Adam’s salsa is something that should be in your fridge at all times!” They make their salsas daily using only the freshest and natural ingredients. Try their pineapple, mango or verde salsa on any menu item or take a container home with you.
Adam shops for fresh ingredients three times a week, and everything is made in-house. Their menu features giant burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, hot wings and more. Their fish taco with Adam’s fresh slaw is a customer favorite. They offer a variety of sauces for the wings, but if you like them extra spicy, don’t miss out on their Millstone wings. In fact, they can turn up the spice on just about any of their entrees, so let them know your preference!
They offer many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. You can now choose Beyond Beef (vegetarian/vegan) as a filling choice for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, taco salads and nachos.
Michelle was born and raised in Niantic, one of six children. Adam grew up in Brooklyn and moved to East Lyme with his parents after attending the State University of New York (SUNY) in Binghamton for music. He worked as a sound engineer in New York City and built his own studio before taking on his role at East Coast Taco.
Michelle and Adam met in the early 90s when they were both waiting tables at The Box Office, located on Hope Street at the time. Adam had been involved in the restaurant industry for years including a stint at The Hideaway in Old Lyme before opening East Coast Taco. Michelle has been a licensed childcare provider for 25 years, and they own a home day care.
When their three children were little, it was a challenge to take vacations that required air travel. So, they had fun going on road trips. They traveled the East Coast beaches extensively, always seeking out taquerias wherever they traveled – from Bar Harbor, Maine down to Key West, Florida.
Because there were no local taquerias in our area, family and friends encouraged them to open a specialty restaurant in Niantic. In 2006 they found the perfect location for their business at 51 West Main Street. They worked all summer turning a computer repair shop into a small east coast taco restaurant. Adam’s culinary skills and their love for Tex-Mex cuisine turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.
They modeled East Coast Taco after some favorite taquerias they discovered in San Diego and Boston (where their daughter went to college). When their daughter moved to Austin, TX after college, they visited regularly and were inspired by the taco trucks there. In fact, they bought a food trailer after one of their trips and served tacos at a food truck park in Norwich for a time. Now they use it as an extra kitchen and for catering private parties.
They don’t serve alcohol so they’re thrilled to have Main Brace Package Store right next door. When the dining room is open, customers find it convenient to pick up drinks before coming in for dinner. Michelle and Adam enjoy teaming up with the package store’s owners Carol and her son Ed, who Michelle graduated with from East Lyme High School in 1985.
And their location right next to The Book Barn also helps to make East Coast Taco a destination when visiting Niantic.
Adam and Michelle love being part of the Niantic community. Since they opened, they’ve always employed high school students. Their children – Melissa, Whitney and Justin – and many of their children’s friends have worked for them. Anthony Brockwell, who helps manage East Coast Taco and Matt Liebenthal who helps with the cooking have worked there since they were students at East Lyme High School.
Many of the children who attended their day care have come to work for Adam when they turn 16 years old. They joke that Michelle might have them during their terrible two’s, but Adam gets them as teenagers! They love their extended family in East Lyme. Michelle says, “There’s not a week that goes by that one of their “kids” isn’t visiting through the back door of the kitchen. It’s often the first place they stop when coming home from college or visiting their parents.”
The restaurant has a fun and friendly vibe with both tables and booths that can seat up to 50 people or you can order online at eastcoasttaco.com. Follow East Coast Taco on Facebook and Instagram to stay on top of their news and special offerings.
East Coast Taco is having fun this Restaurant Week with a photo contest! Tag East Coast Taco on Facebook or Instagram during Restaurant Week to be entered to win a free Party Taco Bar! (Tag @NianticMainStreet or #NianticMainStreet to double dip and be entered in the Main Street Restaurant Contest, too.)
East Coast Taco
51 West Main Street, Niantic
About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.