Shirley Picon and Daniel Wajdik III waste no time on life’s big decisions.
The couple, who met nearly a year and a half ago, are set to be wed next month. Last week, they signed a lease for the former Mattitaco location on Main Road in Mattituck within days of seeing the vacant restaurant. Now, they are redecorating and developing a menu to open the doors of Chenza’s Twisted Tacos in the coming weeks.
“We’re doing everything very, very fast,” Ms. Picon, 43, said. “We are not 20, we know exactly what we want, and we both are business people.”
The “twist” on the couple’s tacos is that they will boast flavors from around the globe, from Germany and Jamaica to Italy and Japan. Dishes from across multiple cultures, from Korean barbecue with kimchi to Greek salad with feta cheese, will find themselves in a tortilla.
“The idea is the presentation looks like a taco,” Ms. Picon said.
Chenza’s will occupy the vacancy Mattitaco left at 10560 Main Road this past February after owner Justin Schwartz’s lease expired. The Suffolk Times reached out to Mr. Schwartz for comment.
Mr. Wajdik, 47, a chef since 2010 who briefly ran a food truck dubbed Chenza’s Cruising Cuisine from 2018 to 2020, has had many taco recipes burning a hole in his back pocket for years. He said he is most excited for North Forkers to try the Hawaiian taco, with barbecued pulled pork, grilled pineapple, red onions, shredded cabbage and some barbecue sauce.
“We also have vegan tacos, veggie tacos for vegetarians and gluten-free tacos, so there’s going to be something for everybody,” he added.
As for Ms. Picon, who was born in Peru, she is excited to introduce diners to Peruvian dishes including ceviche, the original Peruvian version of which calls for large-kerneled Peruvian corn and slices of cooked sweet potato with the fish cured in citrus juices, as well as lomo saltado.
“[Lomo saltado is] steak you fry very, very quick because it’s little pieces with onions, tomatoes, and some soy sauce,” she explained. “It’s Peruvian, but in Peru we have fusion, so it looks a little Chinese because we’re used to doing it in a wok.”
Before Ms. Picon reached out to Mr. Wajdik on Bumble, a popular online dating app, they each had entrepreneurial ambitions. Ms. Picon studied business administration and fashion design in Peru, before starting her company, Almira’s Collection, through which she designs and curates swimwear and other beach essentials for resort guests. She continues to manage the business from her and her fiancé’s Hampton Bays home. Since 2010, Mr. Wajdik made his name as an executive chef at Vino n Vittles in Greenport and The Dory Bar & Restaurant on Shelter Island before becoming a private chef in the Hamptons.
Chenza’s Twisted Tacos will also serve ready-to-go hot meals for those not quite feeling tacos, as well as dessert options like tres leches and flan. They will even offer taco-fied dessert crepes.
“The creative edge we’re going to have is definitely going to blow this town’s mind,” Mr. Wajdik said. “Once we get [renovations] done and we get in the kitchen, the juices will start flowing and we’ll start creating.”
Chenza’s Twisted Tacos is expected to open soon, but the couple has yet to announce an opening date. Those interested can follow the restaurant’s Instagram account, @thechenzas, for updates.