The owners – Israel Mejia of Geneva and Israel Garcia of Aurora – also are taking over the lease at the former Taco Fresco, 902 Randall Road, St. Charles.
“We are going through a little clean-up, doing painting and stuff,” Mejia said.
Mejia described Garcia as “the brains and I’m going for the ride.”
Garcia is co-owner of five other Taco Madre restaurants with different partners, Mejia said.
Those are located in North Aurora, Montgomery, Naperville, Niles and Chicago. Opening in Geneva and St. Charles will make seven restaurants altogether, Mejia said.
Mejia, an accountant, said that when he saw Taco Fresco’s lease was up, he called Garcia, who said, “Let’s jump on it.”
Mejia then showed the Geneva location, formerly occupied by El Molcajete, to a client from another Mexican restaurant. The owners of El Molcajete closed the restaurant to concentrate on their Berry House location on Third Street.
It didn’t work out for that client, but Mejia and Garcia decided to take over the lease for the State Street location as well.
The two Taco Madre eateries being so close to each other won’t matter, Garcia said, because the environments are different.
“Randall Road has different traffic than [downtown] Geneva has,” Garcia said.
The Geneva location is smaller, but Garcia said he expects to do more delivery and carry-out.
“We have a place in Montgomery going on four years and it’s one of our busiest locations,” Garcia said. “Half the business is take-out and delivery.”
Mejia said Taco Madre has a theme of a modern Mexican restaurant
“It’s not your standard taqueria,” Mejia said. “The first thing people notice is the quality of the meat. It’s real high-quality meat that is grilled fresh, not sitting in a steam table all day. Everything is cooked to order.”
Garcia said the cooking is authentic Mexican, but with a twist of modernization, more like fast casual.
Garcia estimated the Geneva location will open soon, but the St. Charles location will take a few weeks longer.
Mejia said his family has lived in Geneva for about 10 years. His wife, Sarah, is a math teacher at Geneva High School, and the couple has three daughters.
Mejia said he grew up in Aurora where his parents owned a Mexican restaurant.
“We would come home from school every day – elementary school, junior high or high school – and we were expected to wash dishes,” Mejia said. “A lot of my family owns restaurants.”
Information about Taco Madre is available online at www.tacomadrechicago.com.