Taste Test ends York project, creates year-round Cantina

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
The building at 101 and 105 South Duke St., where Taste Test, a restaurant incubator project housed several pop-up restaurants including the most recent, Paco's Taco's, is shown in York, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The project has reached its end, and in May, the space will re-open as the Cantina, a previously seasonal outdoor bar that will now be open year round. Dawn J. Sagert photo

A York City restaurant incubator that gave birth to 25 pop-ups, leading to several permanent businesses, has wrapped up its York project — but the owners say the casual dining experience patrons have come to know will remain. 

Taste Test restaurant incubator moved to its brick-and-mortar spot after being awarded the YorIt Social Venture Challenge grant in 2016. In late 2018, Taste Test started to see a decline in new ideas coming to the table, according to a release from O.N.E Hospitality, a parent company of Taste Test. 

The owners will search for another Pennsylvania area where the incubator can help spur development, according to the release. 

Taste Test also was home to The Cantina, a seasonal outdoor bar that was open from May to October. With the closing of the restaurant incubator, O.N.E. Hospitality plans to open The Cantina year-round, using the indoor space formerly home to Paco's Tacos, 105 S. Duke St. 

Toni Calderone and Allison Given receive a $20,000 from the York County Community Foundation grant for their project Taste Test, A Pop Up Restaurant Series.

Paco's Tacos, which started as a pop-up in 2017 and remained, will be taking time off to work on its concept and explore new options, according to the release. 

The Cantina will build on the "cult following" it garnered, expanding to create a Tex-Mex bar menu that fits the vibe of the space, said O.N.E. Chief Marketing Officer Allison Witherow. Previously, The Cantina didn't offer food, since pop-ups surrounding the space had it taken care of. 

The Cantina will open in its new form by May, with an opening weekend and Cinco de Mayo celebration May 3 to May 5. 

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Witherow said live music has already been scheduled for every weekend through September. The indoor space will allow for live music throughout the year, she added. 

Owners also have control over 101 S. Duke St., which was home to rotating pop-up restaurants. That space will have its own separate use but will also be a casual style dining establishment, she said.

More details will be announced soon, she said. 

— Rebecca Klar can be reached at rklar@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_.