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Poppo’s On Soda: Keep It Natural

If you spend a minute scrolling through reviews of Poppo’s, one thing that will jump out at you is how often our soda selection gets mentioned. Our choice to exclusively carry sodas that do not contain high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, and not the big name soda brands, is something people notice.

While we feel good about that, it is actually a hard topic for us, because we pride ourselves on our dedication to serving food that promotes the wellness of the people who eat it. That’s part of why we make everything from scratch out of whole ingredients. That said, every once in a while you want a Mandarin Jarritos to wash down your burrito! And there are few experiences more delightful than a Virgil’s Root Beer.

So, as with everything else, when we decide to serve something, we strive to make it the best possible version it can be. In the case of our sodas, that means they are sweetened with either real sugar, or stevia, and never HFCS or aspartame. We’ve collected some of the best tasting and highest quality sodas available on earth, including the truly singular Virgil’s line, made from all natural ingredients, with no caffeine or preservatives.

We’ve got lots of great beverages to choose from, including spring water, organic (unsweetened) iced teas, and locally brewed kombucha, but when you’d like to indulge in something sweet, well, you could do a lot worse. Cheers!

Poppo’s On Kombucha: It’s Alive!

We’d like to begin by saying that Kombucha (kom-booch-ah) is pretty awesome. When we started carrying it at Poppo’s, we thought it was probably too … how shall we say it, um, out there? We didn’t expect to sell much of it as not that many people have heard of it. Well, this is one instance where we were very happy to be proven wrong! Kombucha has been a surprise favorite among Poppo’s fans!

If you haven’t heard of it, Kombucha is a probiotic tea that is made by using a simple fermentation process that has been practiced for thousands of years to preserve food and beverages. Like many fermented foods (think yogurt, sauerkraut, or kimchee), raw Kombucha is a good source of probiotics. When consumed consistently in moderation, probiotics are great for our health. Modern research is just beginning to uncover the important role that helpful bacteria play in our bodies. They make digestion possible, they help regulate metabolism, cravings, our immune system, even mood and energy, and much more. We can’t think of a better way to help wash down your Poppo’s lunch?

For our kombucha, we left the pantry and hooked up with some local pros at 221 B.C. Kombucha (221 B.C. references the earliest known mention of the tea). They are based out of Sarasota, and brew some really exceptional flavors. From their basic ‘Ginger’ to ‘Honey Mint Macha’, they’ve got a flavor for every palate.

So the next time you stop in to Poppo’s for a delicious taco or baby bowl, give our kombucha tea a try, your taste buds will thank you and so will your tummy!

Wild Boar Chorizo

We are really proud of our Wild Boar Chorizo. Not only do we think it is one of the most healthful and flavorful items on our menu, the use of feral pigs in restaurants is essentially a form of environmental preservation.

As many Floridians know, the mostly unchecked population growth of these non-native animals has been a massive problem for farmers, and for the local ecology. In 2012 it was estimated that there were over half a million feral pigs in Florida alone. They compete with local animals for food sources, even preying on small mammals and the nests of birds and reptiles, including turtles. When wild forage becomes scarce, they will frequently consume agricultural crops, and even target domesticated livestock.

Until the USDA decided to allow the processing of wild pigs for commercial sale, we had to rely on private hunters. This was the least wasteful option, since private hunters frequently eat what they hunt. However, the state would also hire hunters to manage the population, resulting in thousands of feral pigs going to waste.

Now that restaurants like Poppo’s are allowed to serve wild boar, it means more incentive for hunters to hunt, and a lot less waste when they do. So every time you eat a delicious taco on a homemade fresh-pressed tortilla with Wild Boar Chorizo, pickled onions and arugula, or whatever additional condiment choose, you are doing your part in Florida environment preservation.

Together, if we all do our part, we are creating a healthier, more sustainable world for all of us to live in.

Poppo's Taqueria / Gourmet Mexican Street Food

A Chat with Patrick, an owner at Poppo’s Taqueria.

Was there a person named Poppo? What was his story and how did you know him?

Yes… well, sort of. Before we opened Poppo’s, we weren’t really sure what to call it. The idea of opening a San Francisco style taqueria had been batted around a lot over the years, but it never really had a name. There were some ideas, mostly non-starters – Isla, Quixote, Anna Maria, and some others. I don’t recall specifically who did it, but when someone blurted out Poppo’s at a family dinner it was like we all had the idea at the same time. It just fit, even more than we could have known. Poppo was our nickname for my grandpa. His real name was Frank P. Harris. Even though he passed on in August of 2001, he remains an inspiration for our family, a singular example of love and unity. Poppo was not a cook, and he didn’t care much for spicy foods. The name was to honor him in our family business. Even though he couldn’t be there, he would be with us.

Poppo grew up in Boston and was the youngest of several children who was mostly left to his own devices. He made money selling newspapers and playing pool. Poppo was a bright guy, and though he never went to college, through talent and a lot of hard work, he was able to get a job as a reporter for the Boston Globe. He worked there for 30 years and accomplished a lot in his career, but he was never too busy for family. Poppo was one of those people who makes you feel great when you’re around them. He was playful and charismatic and took personal interest in everyone he met. We held up more than one grocery store line while he solicited the life story of the clerk.

My relationship with him was very close. When my family was living in California, he and my Grandma, Jean, would travel from Boston to visit us and look after us while my parents were busy getting their own business going. When they were away, he would always take time to chat with us on the phone. He taught me how to drive, how to play ball, and always took interest in my passions. As I grew older, his wife Jean became my example of wisdom, but he remains the example of love.

As the founders of Poppo’s, myself, my brother, and my wife, put that love into everything we do. Running this business and running it in our way can be challenging and trying. You have to be patient and resilient which sometimes tests your principles, your care and love. What we didn’t realize when we named our taqueria Poppo’s, is that it wasn’t just a commemoration, it was a promise, and a call to action. In large part because of a simple name, running a taco shop is not only more difficult that we thought, it is more rewarding than we imagined.