Eat & Drink

Chiefly de Gallo

Big kiss goodnight from the King St taco legends

Chiefly East opened its doors on Newcastle’s King Street in 2019  – serving up some of the tastiest toasties our city has experienced.

Three years later, we saw the team expand and open their second space, Chiefly West, and rebrand their OG space into Chiefly de Gallo – the newest and hottest spot in town for tacos and other Mexican-inspired eats.

Today, we get ready to say our final goodbyes to the King Street space as Chiefly de Gallo has announced their last week of trade 14/09/2023 – 23/09/2023.

We reached out to the Scottish sandwich monger himself, Al Downer, to hear how he’s feeling as this end of an era quickly approaches…

“We have nothing but love for our original home, the founding house of creation, friendships made, ideas born – but with all good things, we must eventually move on. With one door to close, we allow two more to open.

“We, as a family, cannot express our gratitude to the great folks of Newy and beyond who have walked through the door of 177 King Street and shown love and support to our kin. The future will always remember the great things of the past.

“Thank you and goodnight, King Street,” Al Downer said. 

Reading between the lines makes us here at HUNTERhunter think that Chiefly may just have something up their sleeves. I guess we'll just have to watch this space!

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Another iteration of the original Newcastle-sandwich geniuses sees their OG space turn into a dedication to all things tacos! That’s right, the Chiefly East team has put a 'Taqueria on the roof' and in turn has come to life as Chiefly de Gallo (pronounced ‘dah-guy-oh).

chiefly de gallo king st mexican restaurant newcastle nsw

Since the venue's official launch in the cosy space on King St back in 2019, the brand saw its second space, Chiefly West, come to life in February this year and have now shaken things up to bring a fresh offering to Newcastle locals and visitors alike.

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With the ever-so- fun and friendly couple, Al and Gem Downer still at the helm, Chiefly de Gallo still comes with their signature welcoming vibes but with an all-new and enticing flavour.

chiefly de gallo king st mexican restaurant newcastle nsw

Having operated the two sandwich spaces since Chiefly West’s launch in February, Al started thinking about how he could shake things up and create a different offering. The catalyst for Chiefly de Gallo? An Arctic Monkeys song!

chiefly de gallo king st mexican restaurant newcastle nsw

“I heard that song by Arctic Monkeys where they sing about a Taqueria on the roof. I called Jimmy and said dude, I’ve got an idea, what about hand-pressed tacos in the shop? He just said, that’s sick, I’m in,” Al said.

Working with the mastermind in the kitchen, Jim, and pulling on their sandwich master and Colombian Chef from Chiefly West, Julio, the concept for Chiefly de Gallo has managed to all come together in a little over two months.

“It’s only been about two months of planning. We just said let’s get it done. It’s just been another one of these crazy ideas, but we’ve just run with it and it’s worked!”

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Officially opening up their new offering just last week, the refreshed offering has already garnered an incredible amount of support, and once you check out the menu, you can totally understand why.

The menu is filled with delicious flavours with a little something for everyone. From their tacos, the weekly specials, tortas, and snacks; there will always be something new to devour.

The taco offering includes Taco Carnitas with pork and charred pineapple pickle; Taco Barbacoa with barbacoa beef, pickled onions, and Oaxaca; and the vegan Taco Hibiscus with spiced potato, pickled hibiscus, fennel, and zucchini.

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“With the tacos, we wanted a real point of difference, so they’re like small hand-pressed corn tacos made with Masa Harina Flour which is just so nice and light. We wanted to have three options that were completely different. The Carnitas is done in a traditional way, and Jimmy fries it with a charred pineapple pickle. The Hibiscus is a really funky little vegan one, and the Barbacoa has the traditional Oaxacan cheese.”

chiefly de gallo king st mexican restaurant newcastle nsw

The specials feature Al’s Taco, Jimmy’s Burrito, and Julio’s Bowl; all of which will change flavours every week.  

“Julio is our Colombian dude, so he will be making Ajiaco which is a traditional Colombian stew for the bowl that we will be changing every week. One week we’ll have a veggie one, and the next a meat one. It will keep people coming back in and trying something different. The bowls are only going to be $14!

“Al’s Taco, which is my one. I want to do a taco flavouring which isn’t Mexican. Every week I’ll offer something quirky. Last week we did a Jerk Chicken one with pineapple and a little bit of house habanero. Jimmy’s burrito will also change every week as well.”

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Lucky last, the tortas are almost like the team’s offering to fill the bellies of those who will miss their favourite Chiefly sandwiches.

“The Tortas are like your traditional Mexican sandwiches. Originally, we were only going to do just the Tortas and the Tacos, then I wanted to offer more.”

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Opening for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and with a liquor license, a visit to Chiefly de Gallo could easily be your work-day lunch pick-up or a weekend treat!

“Because I’m so ambitious, I originally wanted to offer all these different styles of cocktails like a Oaxacan Old Fashioned, a Margarita, a Bloody Maria, and a Purple Christmas. It just went off over the weekend so from now on, we’ll just be offering two a night.”

The space itself has had a little bit of a refresh too, with some new booth seating and a fancy new bar area with a stone benchtop which is soon to be installed.  

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With Napoli on one side of the venue and Arno Deli just a few doors up, there’s quite a vibe building in this area of town.

“This little strip along here is so cool, it’s just calling for night-time action. The more we can get happening in this area, the more people will want to come here. It’s got such a safe and great feeling along here. Hopefully, we can keep the energy up for when the Victoria Theatre opens down the track.”

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So, what are you waiting for? Get on down to Chiefly de Gallo and sample the Chiefly team’s newest offering!

Chiefly de Gallo

177 King Street, Newcastle, NSW, 2300

Today - 1130 - 1400 1730 - 2030