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Filipino Tex-Mex Hybrid Brings Unique Tacos to Bedford Avenue

 Swell Dive, a new Filipino, Tex-Mex inspired taco spot, is opening on Bedford Avenue near Lafayette Avenue.
Swell Dive, a new Filipino, Tex-Mex inspired taco spot, is opening on Bedford Avenue near Lafayette Avenue.
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Swell Dive

BROOKLYN — Take a trip to the tropics — with a Tex-Mex twist — at a new taco spot and bar in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Swell Dive, a restaurant serving “non-traditional Filipino” food in tacos, opened at 1013 Bedford Ave., near Lafayette Avenue.

The eatery is the latest business from husband-and-wife team Dennis Mendoza and Autumn Stanford, owners of the popular café Brooklyn Kolache Co.

Inspiration for the restaurant comes from the duo’s backgrounds. Mendoza was born and raised in the Philippines and Stanford hails from Texas.

“Even though it’s a taco place, I didn’t want a menu you could get at another place,” Mendoza said.

“I wanted you to try something different that you can’t really get somewhere else, and not compare to anywhere else.”

The 650-square-foot space seats about 30 people and has a lounge space in the back, as well as a backyard that’s set to open later on, the owner said.

Mendoza seeks to evoke a “laid back, chill” vibe and the eatery is decorated to resemble a beach shack.

“My whole concept is the kind of place you would go to on vacation, the music, the beachy, surf, tropical vibe,” he said.

“Nothing can replace the ocean mist, but maybe I can make you think about it when you are here.”

Swell Dive will serve non-traditional Filipino food, with different spins on dishes like vegetable lumpia (a type of spring roll) and other menu items under $10 including charred beef and pork belly adobo tacos.

“Everybody has their own recipe for a chicken adobo, it’s never going to be as good as what you grew up with,” Mendoza said.

“I’m not competing with a Filipino restaurant, I’m not competing with a taco place, this is something different to try.”

The restaurant will also serve beer, fishbowl punches and tropical cocktails, and will eventually offer tropical fruit soft serve, according to the owner.

Swell Dive will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the owners plan on expanding the hours starting at 8 a.m., serving breakfast tacos “with some Filipino surprises.”