Las Palmas Carniceria 

A weekend taco stand in the South Hills draws a crowd

It's a typical Saturday lunchtime on Brookline Boulevard. Which is to say that a dozen people are standing beneath a blue tent outside Las Palmas Carniceria, watching Francisco Berumen manipulate chorizo -- spiced pork -- and seasoned beef on a propane-fired grill. Berumen turns the meat, then lines the grill with doubled-up corn tortillas. Spanish-speakers and not-quite-speakers alike shuffle forward for the fist-sized $2 tacos. 

You'll find no prefabricated shells or shredded cheese here. What you will find is an array of salsas that range from mild to excruciating. The salsas are made in-house, says Gabriel Berumen, who runs Las Palmas with his wife and brothers.

The taco stand is open from noon to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, all summer long: Precise dates and times depend on the weather. Having an outdoor stand is unusual, says Gabriel Berumen: "They are usually inside, but we don't have the space." Still, the business model works: Las Palmas sells "hundreds" of tacos a day. (And the store is worth a visit too: Las Palmas is renowned for its butcher shop, but you can find everything from cactus to epazote here.) 

Pittsburgh's still-tiny Spanish-speaking community has largely settled in the city's South Hills -- a population that is often invisible making a home in neighborhoods that are usually overlooked. But if this keeps up, Brookline and its new arrivals are going to start getting noticed.  700 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. 412-344-1131


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