Originally from the Mexican state of Jalisco, brothers Roger and Adrian Aguirre moved to the United States as children, but visited every year as teenagers, returning to sample the flavors of their home country in southern Mexico.
They hope these flavors will set their new restaurant, Taco Loco Express Mexican Grill, apart from the competition in Washington.
“We grew up in both places, but our first language was Spanish and we grew up eating Mexican food, so we want to do something really authentic,” Adrian Aguirre said.
Serving up tacos, burritos, eight types of salsas, grilled torta sandwiches and more, one of the options Adrian Aguirre is most excited to bring to Washington is birria, which is traditionally made with goat. in Jalisco, but made with beef in Washington.
“The real birria, nobody has it,” he said. “Very few people have al pastor as a meat offering. Our chicken and steak are marinated for at least 24 hours and cooked on a grill, not on a flat top.
Before opening May 19 in what was once a Cecil Whittaker’s Pizza at 2016 Washington Crossing, the owners invested around $70,000 to get the business off the ground. Most of those expenses were for remodeling the kitchen and dining room, Adrian Aguirre said.
Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and closing an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays, the owners of Taco Loco hope to add another fast and casual option to the Washington restaurant scene and hang their hats on the flavor of their food. .
“Outside of fast food, I would say we don’t have an abundance of options for fast-casual,” said community and economic development director Sal Maniaci. “So getting more lunch options for the workforce is always good.”
For the past five years, Adrian Aguirre has lived in Union and worked as the manager of the Mexican restaurant El Tapatio. Roger Aguirre joined as a waiter last year. Roger Aguirre, who created most of Taco Loco’s menu, said the two men had held almost every restaurant position and he started at age 13.
“You work a lot in the restaurant business,” Adrian Aguirre said. “There’s a lot of stress dealing with employee issues that arise, equipment failures. And I thought, “Maybe it’s time to open my own restaurant if I have to deal with all these problems anyway.
The Aguirres said finding employees has been difficult. Not needing servers and bartenders means they only need eight to 10 staff to be fully staffed, but they currently only have six staff.
Although they declined to share revenue figures, Roger Aguirre said they were busier than expected and Taco Loco has already built up a small base of loyal customers. A landscaping and maintenance crew has already come five or six times, Aguirre estimated, ordering two or three meals each.
Taco Loco is the second taqueria to open in Washington in May, following Taco Fuego’s opening at 902 E. Sixth St. on May 5. restaurant opening just represents an affinity for Mexican cuisine among Washington palettes.
Roger Aguirre said word-of-mouth advertising is doing a good job of reaching those pockets of Hispanic customers, which he says are larger in surrounding areas.