A new Mexican-American cantina serving fusion foods like a Sloppy Joe taco takes its name from the cult-favorite 2004 comedy “Napoleon Dynamite.”
“Vote for Pedro” — a midtown East spot that its owner envisions as a casual eatery for sports fans seeking tacos and tequila — alludes the slogan that the kitschy film’s awkward protagonist wears emblazoned on a T-shirt while campaigning for his Mexican friend’s bid for the class presidency at their Idaho high school.
“I was inspired by Napoleon Dynamite’s ‘Vote for Pedro’ because it captures the sort of fun, relaxed, tongue-in-cheek type atmosphere that I want to create here,” said owner Anthony Monticello, who, per a news release, runs four other restaurants. “It will be a place for people to come eat, drink, watch sports and have a good time.”
On the menu at Vote for Pedro are such classic Mexican street foods as chorizo and carnitas (stewed pork) tacos, but what catches our eye are dishes that blend traditional Mexican cuisine with American bar bites: a crispy “Gringo” taco ($4.25) stuffed with Sloppy Joe filling; chipotle barbecue wings with a cotija cheese dip ($9) and a “mac ’n’ cheese queso fundido” with a crust made from Doritos ($8).
To drink at the bar, you have your pick of tequilas artisanal mezcals (another liquor made from the agave plant); tequilas are mezcals made in specific regions of Mexico with the blue agave), Mexican beers, frozen margaritas and seasonal craft cocktails. The latter category includes a drink named after the Mexican revolutionary general Pancho Villa, which combines cucumber-infused tequila, serrano pepper syrup, passion fruit puree and lime juice.
The design of the restaurant on 53rd Street between Second and Third avenues extends its cultural crossover theme: It’s decorated with both Dia de los Muertos memorabilia and Americana antiques. (Think of the eatery as a kind of "liger," Napoleon's favorite magical, hybrid animal.) TVs at the bar will screen sporting events like soccer, baseball, basketball, football and tennis.
Vote for Pedro is located at 231 53rd St. Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.