A TJ-Style Taco Shop is Making Big ATL Moves

Sacramento-based Chando's Tacos will soon be serving up Mexican street food in two Atlanta brick-and-mortar spots.
A TJ-Style Taco Shop is Making Big ATL Moves
Photo: Official

Cali-native Lisandro “Chando” Madrigal fell in love with Tijuana, Mexico, when his father moved there from Sacramento to open a tortilla factory. So in love, in fact, that he decided to open his own Tijuana-style taco shop in Sacramento, Chando’s Tacos, in 2010. Since then, Madrigal has opened several locations throughout Northern California, and now he’s bringing his Mexican street food to the Peach State.

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“The food scene in Atlanta is amazing. There’s food from all over the world,” says Madrigal. “But the Mexican food scene needs a little bit of love, and I’ve got that love.”  

Madrigal has big plans for Atlanta. When we spoke, he was cruising the streets of ATL in the Chando’s Taco Truck with his son, on their way to cross the T’s and dot the I’s on the food truck permits. He plans to have the food truck up and running next week, followed shortly by Atlanta’s first Cando’s Tacos brick-and-mortar location, at The Peach shopping center in Buckhead, which will hopefully open on May 18th.

But Madrigal’s plans don’t stop there. He’ll also open a second brick-and-mortar location in Downtown Decatur, at 254 West Ponce de Leon Avenue in June.

Unlike the Buckhead spot, the space in Decatur comes equipped with a big, prominent bar, which Madrigal is going to use to his advantage. “The Decatur spot will have more of a trendy cantina feel,” says Madrigal. “We’ll do a lot of cocktails in addition to the taco menu.”

Of course, we’re all about the cocktails, but what we’re really interested in is the taco connoisseur’s tortillas. Madrigal has a tortilla factory up in Sacramento, and he’s just shipped one of his machines down to Atlanta, which means exactly what you think it means. To put it in Madrigal’s words, “We don’t have a space for it yet, but we’ve got big plans.”

Sydney Rende

Sydney Rende is a freelance writer and soon-to-be graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Her work has been published in The New York Times Style Magazine, The Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Ohio Review online, and Carve Magazine. She lives in Southern California, where she’s completing her first short story collection and desperately trying to conform to surf culture.

Join the Conversation


  1. “The food scene in Atlanta is amazing. There’s food from all over the world,” says Madrigal. “But the Mexican food scene needs a little bit of love, and I’ve got that love.”  

    Great, another out-of-towner here to save us from all the bad Mexican food in Atlanta. I can’t roll my eyes any harder.

    Honestly I hope this place is delicious, but starting out by bad mouthing the amazing Mexican restaurants we already have? Rude.

  2. Maybe the comment was not meant to be rude but I do understand where he’s coming. Mexican cuisine is just like American cuisine it’s prepared differently depending on what part of Mexico is being represented. If you’re from out West like myself, the Tex-Mex or the Tijuana style Street Taco type food is was you’re most likely going to prefer. When I first moved to Atlanta in 2008 thought I would never find good Mexican food and then I realized it’s not that the food is not good it’s just prepared differently than the Mexican food I was used to. I am excited and looking forward to Tijuana style Mexican food coming to Atlanta.

    1. I’m always excited to get a new expression of Mexican food here. I LOVE the birria taco trend that’s happening right now. Mexico is an entire country with lots of different regional cuisines… of course. I don’t appreciate the dismissive attitude in the comments by Chando here or other restaurateurs recently disparaging Atlanta’s Mexican food scene. Focus on what you’re doing differently or new, and I’m HERE to support you. Point out why the many many Mexican restaurants here aren’t good enough, and I’m not.

  3. Fresh starchy tortillas are definitely something I miss from California. Haven’t found that yet in Atlanta although I admit I don’t go to Buford Highway often.

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