Growing up, Danny Curtis knew that he wanted to become an entrepreneur. With a childhood that combined watching his family cook delicious Mexican meals while being left to his own devices to experiment with his own creations for many hours a day, Cortes said he developed a passion for food at a young age.
Over the past year, Curtis has brought this knowledge to the location of his food cart on Bent Street in Taos, where he and his wife have recently opened Bomb Street, a food stall where the home-trained chef showcases his culinary prowess in his own style. On Mexican street food, including tacos, quesadillas, burgers, and other dishes.
Curtis spent his childhood moving between New Mexico, Nevada and California. He remembers his roots in San Diego, watching family members cook dinner after long days at work. “Large Hispanic communities have big families, and we all live with a lot of brothers and sisters growing up, so we had a lot of good home cooking,” he said, noting that one of his uncles was particularly influential in terms of food.
He said he’s always enjoyed the creativity of the kitchen, and he said he’s found cooking a natural way to express himself. “You really have to love cooking to really want to make good things and do it right and be creative with a lot of different things,” he said. “There are so many things you can cook with. A lot of people don’t know that a little leftover leftover in their fridge can combine into one really good dish.”
Watching his family cook his childhood food, Curtis said he always wanted to start his own operation. “Growing up, people asked me what I wanted to do for a career. So [cooking] It ended up becoming what I wanted to do – to have a restaurant someday,” he said.
Curtis’ dishes also contain a heavy dose of seared meat – something he says he learned during his time in Taos. He said he often goes camping with his father and cooks meals over a campfire. “It’s really just a hands-on experience,” he said of cooking over an open flame. “I didn’t go to culinary school or anything.”
Starting at the age of nineteen, he got a job at the famous Hunter Steakhouse in San Diego. This is where Curtis found his love of cooking with fire. “Cooking on fire is what made me love cooking more,” he said.
From there, Curtis returned to New Mexico, establishing relationships in Santa Fe through his work at the Four Seasons Resort in Rancho Encantado in 2011.
Curtis met Gandhi Curtis, now his wife, at Angel Fire a year later. Both worked at H2 Uptown, an upscale Mexican restaurant that has since closed. In 2013, the couple moved to Taos, where Curtis said he enjoyed the winter. “I just want to be here because I hope every winter is really good and there is a lot of snow. I love snowboarding,” he said.
Cortes was built on the current Bent Street site (just across the street from Lambert’s) on July 3 last year. While working at Steppin’ Out, a John Dunn Stores retail store, Ghandi Cortes realized there was a demand among business owners for a taco cart in the area and helped usher in Bomb Street.
Curtis said he was eyeing the former Great Noodles Pavilion in John Dunn as a potential location, and when Marshall Thompson turned his successful Thai food cart in the same area into Donabe Asian Kitchen, a brick-and-mortar restaurant near the Taos Inn, they saw an opportunity. “When we heard that Marshall Noodles was leaving, I kind of jumped on it,” Curtis said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, Curtis’ plans were delayed, but they eventually accomplished their vision, which was to “just start a little taco cart and see where it went,” Curtis explained. “It was something we had wanted to try open since late 2018. Before COVID, we always wanted to start something.”
Curtis said his natural entrepreneurial spirit had already prompted him to expand Bomb Street beyond Bent Street. “I was always trying to be an entrepreneurial-style kid, you know. Growing up, I always wanted to do my own thing. Also I always hated going to check in for someone,” he said.
With a kitchen below CiCi’s Coffee (also located inside John Dunn Stores), Cortes spends a lot of time in the area working on creating the best Mexican-inspired street tacos.
Curtis said they spent a lot of time finding the best ingredients they could find, which often meant driving to Santa Fe each week for Mexican meat and seasoning.
He said he wanted to make the best version of whatever dish he made. “I’m very generous when I serve a dish. I don’t try to fumble at people or hold back,” he said. While single tacos cost $5, Curtis explained that they offer quality ingredients that make it worth it. “They got a taco and realized it came with fresh pickled onions, cilantro, fresh onions, fresh salsa, and guacamole,” he explained. Bottom line: “I love my New Mexican food of course. But I don’t think Mexican food here in northern New Mexico is as authentic as it should be.”
He said he sticks to the quality. “I try to always keep it high quality and as fresh as possible – as often as I like to eat,” he said. “I’m picky about food, so when I want food, I just hope it’s good quality.”
He hopes that the quality of his food will be enough to make their business a success. “I would like to be global — to have tacos everywhere. Or a restaurant in every major city. I think I always try to dream big and show something bigger than it has to be,” he said.