A Cuban restaurant near the city’s main train station quietly started a renovation at the tail end of 2019 and while the eatery won’t be changing hands, a different concept appears to be coming to the space.
On December 27, construction permits were posted on the storefront of Coco Havana at 32-34 Newark Street without much explanation. The development caused some in the Mile Square City to speculate about the eatery closing, but the restaurant has still been open on some nights despite the clatter of construction that’s taking place during the day.
Plans for the property have become clearer following the January 6 meeting of Hoboken’s Historic Preservation Committee. The company that runs Coco Havana, Hoboken Hospitality Group, gained approvals during the meeting to install new signage at the building. The markers will read Fat Taco, a strong indicator that the eatery has already been given a new name.
Hoboken Hospitality Group also manages nearby Birch and Wild Moose Saloon, both of which were re-branded in 2017 following the company’s purchase of the property that houses the restaurants. The application for new signage at Coco Havana’s storefront was submitted to the city by Gary Yip, a co-owner of Hoboken Hospitality Group.
Yip has not responded to our inquiry as to when the changes could be completed, but the latest hospitality shuffle in the neighborhood shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Within a four-block radius of Hoboken Terminal, the last year and a half has seen the arrival of Pig and Parrot, the opening and closing of The Winston, HUB Bar and The Dubliner both shutting their doors, and Cadillac Cantina re-branding as 80 River Bar + Kitchen.
Current construction permits at 32-34 Newark Street call for a tile floor to be removed and replaced with hardwood flooring, but it’s unclear when Fat Taco could be fully operational.