Photos by Ruta Smith

From the Bay

You might have come across Tacos de la Bahia on Instagram. The new pop-up has been making its rounds throughout Charleston at places like Sightsee Shop, Charles Towne Fermentory and Munkle Brewing Company, and starting in April, expect to see West Coast-style tacos and burritos every Monday in April at Cutty’s on Bogard Street.

From Oakland, California, Tacos de la Bahia owner Jeremy Weiss moved to Charleston in August to support his longtime friend and mentor James London, executive chef at Chubby Fish. 

“The vision had been to help [London],” Weiss said of his decision to move coasts. “I really believe in him and want to see him nationally recognized, so I moved myself out here to help out in whatever way I could.”

Owning a granola bar company in the San Francisco Bay area, Weiss started working from home when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and while doing so, made his plans to move to Charleston. But by the time he moved, Chubby Fish had temporarily closed its doors. Despite the setback and not knowing many people in his new city, Weiss kept true to himself and set out to do something he was passionate about.

The inspiration for the pop-up came from his Bay-area culinary experience, a combination of the “setup, the ease of access, the clarity and the story” between working with friends in home kitchens and restaurants.

Additionally, with his Jewish and Mexican roots along with Japanese and Laotian-influenced ingredients and recipes, Weiss wanted to bring a unique blend of cultures and flavors to Charleston using locally sourced ingredients. 

“There’s a lot of Bay-area roots, but we came to a bay, too, so Tacos de la Bahia, or ‘Tacos from the Bay,’ is a mixture of all of that,” Weiss said. 

Before making official pop-ups at places around the city, Weiss started serving takeout dishes on Mondays and Tuesdays via his Instagram account (@tacosdelabahia), and while doing so, he made the connections he needed to start serving a wider audience. 

In a month’s time, a thought-to-be small-time gig became a full-time endeavor. 

“I thought this was just going to be my Sunday gig to meet people out in Charleston because that’s how I like to engage,” Weiss said. “I want to go and create tacos for people. Now it’s become the full-time and full-investment thing, and everything’s been coming together.”

Starting a taco pop-up isn’t Weiss’ only goal, however. With Tacos de la Bahia, the chef wants to help create a community of artists, chefs, musicians and other creatives that can work together.

With this in mind, the goal is to not only have tacos, burritos and quesadillas at his pop-ups, but to also have clothing and locally sourced merchandise from local producers available as well. Weiss wants his pop-up to be a community of creatives who can meet and connect with one another and have a platform to showcase their stuff, he said. 

“I wasn’t looking to just open up something that was food. If I have either a platform or a canvas for somebody to use, I want that space to be taken up with something genuine that has a story behind it, that’s supporting somebody else both financially and emotionally, especially now,” he said. “Why not collaborate like I do in the kitchen with artists, jewelry-makers or whoever?”

Using tacos as a way to build a network for himself, Weiss wants to extend that hand to others in the Lowcountry and bring the community closer together, despite being socially-distanced. 

If you’re a local artist, craftsperson or creative who wants to collaborate with Tacos de la Bahia, follow Weiss on Instagram
@tacosdelabahia or @chefjweiss.