El Taco Chico opens during the COVID-19 pandemic

Virus has impacts the local restaurant’s opening

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Photo courtesy of El Taco Chico

El Taco Chico's tacos available to pick-up in Oak Park.

Tacos Dorados, Huarache Tamales Grandma Style and Churros — courtesy of El Taco Chico.

On April 22, El Taco Chico opened at the former location of Baba’s Cafe on Lindero Canyon road — an opening that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a horrible situation right now we’re living in. It’s tough, it’s even tougher because we are trying to start something new and unfortunately we probably chose the worst time to do it,” the El Taco Chico owner Noe Cruz said. “You do one step forward and [the current situation] forces you to do two steps backward.”

Cruz says while they are trying to make the best out of the situation, getting people to know that they are open poses a challenge.

“We are here, we are trying to make the best out of it and try to get this project moving forward,” Cruz said.

He says he fully understands people staying at home but the uncertainty that the virus brings is hard to deal with as a restaurant owner.

“I get it, it’s for everybody’s safety. Even though some people want to go out and try to live the way they used to, it’s hard. There’s a lot of uncertainty, we don’t really know how long this is going to last: If there is going to be a second wave, if there is going to be a vaccine (which hopefully everybody gets as soon as possible),” Cruz said. “But we don’t know and that’s the problem, and that’s a lot of fear.”

Cruz has lived in Oak Park for over 10 years, working for the Breakfast Cafe before opening El Taco Chico.

“Personally, I really love the food. I’m a huge fan of their wraps with a side french fries. The food is also authentic which is hard to say for a lot of Hispanic/Latino restaurants around here,” OPHS junior Daisy Calderon wrote to the Talon. “Everything is cooked by great chefs who have been cooking these types of food practically their entire lives and I think that’s about as authentic you can get.”

Calderon also praises the friendliness Cruz and his staff bring forth.

“I went on opening day and the customer service was incredible,” Calderon wrote. “Every time my family and I stop by the owner is super nice and makes great conversation which is a super important quality for restaurants.”

Cruz says that the support he has gotten from the community has been amazing.

“There [are] no words to say how much I am appreciative and grateful for the support I am getting,” Cruz said.

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