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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.
“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.”