NORWICH — When his food truck Mexicali was parked at Food Truck Paradise – a semi-permanent collection of said trucks at Long Wharf in New Haven – Jose Corona said customers would ask when he was going to open something in Eastern Connecticut.
Three weeks ago, he did just that, and opened Traviezo Mexican Food at 631 North Main St., in the Greeneville section of Norwich. Corona said business has been good so far, with plenty of people already seeing his restaurant on Facebook.
“I’m very happy because we have regular customers now,” Corona said. “They have been in and spread the word very quickly. I’m surprised.”
Given that he lives in New Haven, Corona has been part of the food truck scene with Mexicali at the Food Truck Paradise in New Haven for years.
“I have a few customers that are happy to see me here,” Corona said.
What also brought his restaurant to Norwich was that his wife had opened up Love Thai by Thai, on W. Thames St., last summer. Corona said people would see him in Love Thai by Thai, and ask him about Mexican food.
As for the name, Corona said it’s derived from the phrase “el chico traviezo,” which means “the naughty boy.” Corona also said his son’s likeness is used for the restaurant’s mascot.
What’s on the menu at Traviezo?
Despite cooking in a restaurant instead of a food truck, Corona said things aren’t that much different, though he’s now able to have a larger menu.
With Traviezo, Corona emphasizes Mexican and San Franciscan food. Some of the dishes include chimichangas, fish tacos, flautas, and the pollo mole burrito, which he says is popular right now. Corona also said customers like the margaritas.
The Mexican influence can be seen on the walls of his restaurant, with traditional dancer puppets and other decorations from Mexico.
Across the street from Traviezo lives Crystal Poole. She said that she hasn’t tried it yet, but imagines Traviezo will be successful, especially with all the traffic that passes by it.
Here’s her legacy: Killingly’s longtime recreation director leaves at the end of March.
“It seems like a good place,” Poole said. “Hopefully it’ll stick.”
Looking ahead, Corona hopes to grow the place and either move or expand to have more seating.
Traviezo’s hours are noon to 10 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, closed Wednesdays, noon to 1 a.m. Thursdays, noon to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Experienced New Haven food truck owner opens Norwich restaurant