May 19, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
The long-vacant Crow's Landing restaurant space will be transformed into a Locales Tacos y Tequila eatery -- featuring traditional Mexican as well as Baja-style tacos, quesadillas, burritos, salads, appetizers, churros (fried dough with cinnamon sugar) and margaritas -- as early as this summer, pending the necessary town board approvals.
The guy behind this new casual eatery proposal is none other than Brian McLaughlin -- founder of the popular Seabird Coffee & Co. in Cohasset -- known for his unwavering enthusiasm for quality and his community-focused culture. The Hingham restaurant will feature a Baja-inspired full bar and dining room. The proposal calls for a cosmetic upgrade of the space and maintaining the 54 existing seats. McLaughlin is hoping for a mid-summer opening.
He described the difference between Mexican-style and Baja-style tacos -- both are delicious, as hungry customers will discover once the restaurant opens.
"Mexican street tacos are simple, consisting of a corn tortilla, grilled meat or chicken, diced onions, and cilantro," he told the Hingham Anchor in a telephone interview today. "California-style tacos are stuffed with meat, sauces, vegetables, rice, beans, cheese, and other fresh ingredients."
Locales Tacos will be a family-friendly, full-service restaurant with a modern-casual feel and a focus on incorporating the highest-quality, locally-sourced ingredients into its menu. In fact, McLaughlin is already partnering with Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset.
"We'd like to wrap our arms around what's already growing in Massachusetts, with the exception of limes and avocados," McLaughlin quipped.
Once the restaurant plan makes its way through the local review process -- which includes selectmen's consideration of a request by McLaughlin for a transfer of the Crow's Landing all alcoholic beverages license to Locales Tacos --which will be on the board's May 26 agenda, and a planning board hearing about the proposed parking lot reconfiguration that would include additional spaces and other improvements.
During his decades on the West Coast, McLaughlin was general manager and partner in an award-winning San Francisco taco joint. Now he's bringing that same flavor and atmosphere to Hingham, where he and his family lived when they first arrived on the South Shore several years ago. They now live in Scituate.
"It's nice to be in Hingham again," McLaughlin said. "This is the perfect location -- close to the Crow Point neighborhood (that's what 'locales' means -- local!) with neighbors biking to the restaurant or families from farther away stopping by for churros for their kids and margaritas for themselves."
The father of three daughters ages five to 10, McLaughlin said Locales Tacos "will fill the [current] void with a community-driven restaurant offering affordable, casual comfort fare in a fun atmosphere where kids are welcome."
Whether dining in -- when the time is right, working around Gov. Charlie Baker's COVID-19 guidance -- or picking up takeout, every meal will be an experience, reflecting the vibrant personality of the restaurant.
Once Locales Tacos opens and inside dining is allowed, the restaurant will continue to offer a takeout experience "with a few surprises" -- allowing families "to bring our restaurant to their dining table -- not a meal brought back in a paper bag containing soggy tacos. We'd like to be the place that kids are talking about when they say, 'Mom and Dad, we have to order from there again!'"
While acknowledging that COVID-19 "has changed everything," McLaughlin maintains a positive outlook. "Locales Tacos will have a strong focus on outdoor dining [during mild weather, when he hopes the restaurant will open]," he said. "I'm craving California tacos and am looking forward to offering them in our Hingham restaurant."