Vanessa Palazio opened ‘Little Nica’ in her ‘Little Muenster’ DUMBO branch. Photo by Matthew Taub.

A pop-up restaurant is all the rage with DUMBO’s lunch crowd, selling out on its first day on Wednesday. But don’t fret: Little Nica, serving Quesillo (typical Ecuadorian street fare), will be open daily (on weekdays) until September.

The exotic cuisine–Ecuadorian food is a rare find in the city–is currently available within a tiny takeout restaurant at 145 Front Street. Vanessa Palazio is the owner.

“I grew up working for my parents, who run the Key Food on Montague Street,” Palazio said. From that experience came the desire to branch out on her own, but in the restaurant world. Thus came “Little Muenster,” a popular grilled cheese destination, already sprouting three locations–two in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn.


Tongue from Little Nica. Photo by Matthew Taub

Comfortable enough to branch out into more daring cuisine, Palazio has now delved into her cultural heritage, with spicy delicacies that include pork (cerdo desmenuzado) and tongue (lengua), along with a more classic tortilla and soft cheese concoction (quesillo sencillo) with or without guacamole (aguacate), all of which is topped off with cilantro–admittedly an Americanized addition.

“Most people are a little scared to try the tongue,” Palazio said. “But it’s really good.”


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