Chando's Tacos is one of the great little success stories on the local food scene. The food is excellent, the people are friendly and Chando himself is one smart and charismatic restaurateur.
As reported in today's Bee, Chando's is about to grow. It already expanded from its tiny flagship location at 863 Arden Way to include a mobile food truck. Now Chando (AKA Lisandro Madrigal) has secured a second location at the corner of Fruitridge and Power Inn roads.
He has been looking for months, focusing on areas that would expand the brand without taking customers from the original and still wildly popular location.
I caught up with Chando and chatted with him by phone about the new, larger spot. In contrast to the Arden locale, it will be a walk-in place where you order at the counter and eat inside. Once seated, you'll be able to order more food and beer via a roaming server, who can send a new order back to the kitchen via an iPad. Chando, you may recall, is all about high-tech. He left a lucrative position with Apple to pursue this dream.
That's right, this Chando's will have a beer and wine license and will feature five beers on tap.
The new location is expected to have its grand opening July 7, including live music, discounted food and plenty of other treats. The address is 5665 Power Inn Rd. If you're a cheese skirt aficionado, you'll know the area - it's right near Squeeze Inn.
There was nothing random about securing this second location, Chando told me. He studied the area carefully, saw the success at Squeeze Inn, saw the other restaurants nearby and realized this could be something of a food hub.
"This area wasn't in my initial plan. Then I started paying closer attention and realized it more similar t o Arden than any other property I've looked at," he said. "There's lots of traffic and a ton of blue-collar work going on in the area. There's something to be said for Squeeze Inn's success in the area."
The new place is much larger than the walk-up on Arden Way, which has that street-food vibe that fans find appealing. Because of the size, it will serve as the central location for food prep, including the marinating of all the meats cooked there, at Arden and for the food truck.
Chando's in midtown seems unlikely at this point, partly because it is a short drive to the Arden Way spot and Chando doesn't want to pull customers away from there.
"At this point, we want to be able to extend our net," he said. "Going to Power Inn will enable us to reach out to Rancho Cordova, Rosemont, South Sac and the people around Sac State."
It's nice to see a new business grow and prosper. As opening day for the Power Inn location grows closer, we'll have more details in this space.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.