They say that good things come in small packages. That seems to be the case at Amanecer Taco Shop judging by the success that this tiny brick & mortar has had since its opening at the end of November.
Ana Vela’s face does not hide the happiness when seeing the constant wave of clients at 512 Main Street in Evanston. “We are now operating the smallest food truck in the United States and the smallest commercial space in Evanston,” said Ana.
And best of all, “we’ve barely stopped since we opened it. We have had a constant clientele.” Located in a business district of Evanston, Amanecer Taco Shop offers authentic breakfast tacos, such as the Machacado, made with cage-free eggs and shredded, dried beef called “carne seca” and its other specialties created with fresh seasonal ingredients.
The grand opening was held on this past Small Business Saturday on November 25. Ana and her husband Mario launched the business with a food truck in 2015 to sell breakfast tacos to commuters.
Over time, they began to receive more and more requests to open a permanent location. When Vela saw that there was a space available at 512 Main Street, she immediately realized that it would be a perfect transition for her small food truck.
Located one block east of the Main Street CTA and Metra stations, Vela has created a new concept of food, convenient for travelers who can take advantage of the tacos and enjoy it at the counter or on the train. All thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of its creators. A story that began more than seven years ago, Ana and her husband Mario moved to Chicago from San Antonio, Texas. They were surprised to discover that the breakfast tacos they had eaten all their lives did not exist in Chicago.
“In trying to feel more at home, we went looking for our comfort food and breakfast tacos in Chicago’s large Latino neighborhoods, but we did not find those flavor profiles and ingredients that we grew up enjoying,” explains Vela.
Although neither had previous experience in the food industry, the Velas set out to prepare these breakfast tacos and introduced a staple food from Texas to Chicago, opening Amanecer Breakfast Tacos as a mobile food and catering business in 2015.
“We chose the tacos in our menu based on the most common flavor profiles in northern Mexico, Monterrey, all the way up north to San Antonio, Texas,” says Ana.
“These are the areas in which we grew up and represent our culture the most. We wanted to specifically showcase these authentic flavors to Chicago because we saw that they were not represented here, “he says.
“Today we are very excited about our new location because we can further promote our mission to showcase our Latino culture,” says Vela.
“Our micro-shop allows us to partner with other minority-owned businesses, and we hope it will be the first of many small taco shops in Chicago.”
Something that has helped in its success is the involvement of the couple in the community. Ana is the president of the Evanston Latinx Business Alliance, and Mario is considered to be part of the Equity and Empowerment Commission of the City of Evanston.
It was important to the Velas to partner with several Latino businesses as part of this brick & mortar project. For example, the design of the premises was coordinated by the engineering firm MEPIS; custom furniture: 1840 Creative; the general contractor, Green Building Partners; the electrical installations were carried out by Montoya Electric; while the fire protection was left in the hands of F & T Fire Protection, Inc.; the firm Signarama Skokie put the signs; Deal Paracuellas, the mural; and Back of the Yard Coffee Company, coffee.
“Amanecer Taco Shop is an example of how a Latino business helps other Latino businesses. This must be the tendency to grow as a community,” concluded Mario.