One of Long Island’s best taquerias has spawned a second location: Nelly’s, of Hicksville, has opened a satellite in a little Farmingdale strip mall hard by Bethpage State Parkway.
When Nelly Palacios and her husband, Will Colon, first opened in 2016 on Old Country Road, they concentrated on tacos but also served enchiladas, flautas, gorditas and more. As the shop got busier, however, they jettisoned the non-taco offerings to keep up with demand. Now the menu, at both Hicksville and Farmingdale, is 100 percent taco, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find variety: Nelly’s offers 60 types of tacos, which are divided into eight categories: carnitas (braised pork), al pastor (roasted pork), chorizo (Mexican sausage), entrana (steak), carne molida (ground beef), pollos (chicken), mariscos (seafood) and vegetales (vegetable). Tacos top out at $6; most cost less than $5.
In fact the menu can be overwhelming, but the canny Colon figured out that having so many choices had the effect of slowing down the orders so that the kitchen could keep up. If you’d prefer to select your own combination of meat, salsa, cheese and garnish, you can also build your own taco.
Nelly’s still makes its own flour tortillas, but demand for corn tortillas has outstripped the kitchen’s ability to make them from scratch by hand. Instead they are picked up fresh every morning from a local tortilla factory.
The bright shop, decorated with colorful textiles and a case of brightly hued Jarritos sodas, accommodates about 15 diners; orders are evenly split between eat-in and takeout.
Fun fact: Nelly’s in Hicksville was the site of one of Long Island’s most bizarre crimes: In 2017, the place was broken into. The burglar made off with $100 but, before he did, he cooked himself a meal and cleaned up the kitchen when he was done. “Criminal mastermind or criminal master chef?” Colon pondered at the time. Click here to read the story, complete with surveillance video.
Nelly’s Taqueria is at 47 Boundary Ave., Farmingdale, 516-777-8226; 356 W. Old Country Rd., Hicksville, 516-261-9177; nellystaqueria.com.