A former Collingwood kebab joint that sat on an empty block for three-and-a-half years has become a Mexican street food kiosk.
Frankie's Tortas and Tacos, the first venue from Todd Vanneste of Weekdays Design Studio, which did the branding for Leonardo's Pizza Palace, and Stuart Morton, most recently at Vacation Coffee, has no more than seven red plastic stools, some bench and bar seats and three tables, but has already sold out daily since opening on November 9.
The venue, reminiscent of the stand-alone kebab kiosks you see at petrol stations, technically falls under a food truck licence. Its casual, street-side nature, block-red text and painted signage make it the closest thing Melbourne has to Mexico City's street food.
After falling hard for tortas (sandwiches) while on holiday, Vanneste decided to bring them to Melbourne. There are three to choose from: al pastor (pork), crumbed beef milanesa or asado mushroom.
The custom white French rolls are oversized and fluffy to mimic the real thing. Oaxacan cheese is grilled onto the bread, which is spread with black bean paste and layered with pickled onion, lettuce, avocado and coriander. The same choices are available as tacos on La Tortilleria tortillas.
Drinks are deliberately affordable to cater to the local work crowd. Bloom coffee is available iced ($3.50) or filtered ($3) and house horchata is $4.50.
Frankie's Tortas and Tacos is open Tue-Thu & Sun 11.30am-4pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am-8pm (or until sold out) at 384 Smith Street, Collingwood