“We’re now operating both the tiniest food truck in America and the tiniest retail space in Evanston,” Ana Vela, Amanecer Taco Shop owner, said about converting the Amanecer Tacos Smart Car “food truck” to a brick and mortar taco shop in Evanston.
Located at 512 Main St., Amanecer Taco Shop held its grand opening on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. The taco shop, which specializes in authentic breakfast tacos, will continue to serve customer favorites: the machacado taco, made with cage-free eggs and shredded, dried beef called carne seca. Amanecer will also offer monthly specials created with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
After moving to Chicago from San Antonio, Tex, more than seven years ago, Ms. Vela and her husband Mario were surprised to discover the breakfast tacos they had eaten their entire lives did not exist in Chicago. “In trying to feel more at home here, we went searching for our comfort food – breakfast tacos – in Chicago’s great Latino neighborhoods, but those flavor profiles and ingredients that we grew up enjoying weren’t represented out here,” she said.
Though neither had any prior experience in the food industry, the Velas missed breakfast tacos so much that they took it upon themselves to introduce the Texas staple to Chicago by opening Amanecer Breakfast Tacos as a mobile food truck and catering business in 2015.
“We chose the tacos on our menu based on the flavor profiles most common in Northern Mexico – Monterey – up north to San Antonio, Texas,” Ms. Vela said. “These are the areas we grew up in, and represent our Mexican culture most. We wanted to specifically introduce these authentic flavors to Chicago because we saw they weren’t represented out here.”
Over the past two years, Amanecer’s breakfast tacos have been served all over Chicago and Ms. Vela has received many requests to open a storefront. Ms. Vela says the tiny space on Main Street, close to the Metra and CTA stations and the shopping area, would be a perfect transition from the tiny food truck.
“We are so excited about the storefront because now we can further promote our business mission to showcase our Latino culture,” Ms. Vela said. “Our micro-shop is allowing us to partner with other minority-owned businesses, and our hope is that this is the first of many tiny taco shops in Chicago.”