‘Grateful for our community’: Mexican restaurant Tacos Los Gordos reopens after fire


Restaurant owner Edgar Marcial says he feels like the restaurant never stopped working after having to close due to a fire in the kitchen wall shortly after it opened.

Benjamin Hernández

12:58 a.m., November 11, 2022

Benjamin Hernandez, collaborating photographer

Edgar Marcial grew up hearing his mother say: “if vas hacer algo, hazlo bien. Sino no lo hagas. The phrase translates to “If you’re going to do something, do it well.” Otherwise, don’t bother doing it at all.

Upon entering Marcial’s New Haven restaurant, Tacos Los Gordos, patrons will encounter this exact phrase painted on one of the walls. Marcial said the mantra was central to the philosophy of Tacos Los Gordos during its difficult first months – the restaurant opened in early August but was closed by a kitchen fire a month and a half later. Tacos Los Gordos triumphantly resumed operations in October.

“Not everyone can make it out [restaurant] industry,” Marcial said. “It’s a very tough industry, and if you’re weak, you’ll be shot.”

Marcial said closing so soon after the restaurant opened discouraged him because they had spent about $4,000 on food and extra money on bills and rent just before the fire hit. occur.

“It took us four months, first of all, to open.” Marcial said. “We were paying the rent and the bills and when we were finally able to open, we were able to open for a month and a half, and it went really well – people received us very well here.”

Marcial said that on September 7 he began to smell smoke but threw it out after being unable to locate the source. Later that day, Marcial said he noticed smoke inside the restaurant despite nothing being cooked.

After one of his employees noticed the basement was filled with smoke, they started mixing things up but still couldn’t locate where the smoke was coming from.

“[The fire department] found that a fire had started inside the walls because the stove was somewhat closed and had warmed up over time,” Marcial said. “There were wooden panels that started to burn slowly.”

The day after the fire, Tacos Los Gordos launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds in its efforts to “make up for lost time and money”. To date, the restaurant has raised $3,366 of its $15,000 goal.

“My family and I enjoyed tacos at your amazingly delicious, authentic, and cute restaurant just a week before the fire,” Melissa Gonzalez wrote on GoFundMe. “We looked forward to many future visits and hope to see you again soon!”

Marcial said there was an outpouring of support from the nearby community after the fire. As soon as the news broke, he said the rest of New Haven’s small business community reached out to help.

He also said that Atticus Market reached out to Instagram and offered Tacos Los Gordos their location for a pop-up event and that Trinity Bar & Restaurant offered to send temporary workers and provide meals for its employees. Menya-Gumi, he said, sent meals for lunch, and MakeHaven “overstepped” their help by offering tools and labor for anything that needed fixing.

“We are grateful for our community, all of us,” Marcial said. “I don’t think we could have chosen a better community for us. [with] people who don’t know us and who help us.

However, Marcial said he did not accept many companies’ offers of help because he knew other companies had their own business to sort out as well.

“Everyone started coming out of nowhere,” Marcial said. “At the same time, I really didn’t want to bother anyone because I know everyone has their stuff… [and] I needed to understand what was really going to happen [because] I didn’t know if I was actually going to reopen.

Saul Arredondo is a cook at Tacos Los Gordos and a friend of Marcial who moved from California to Connecticut to help his friend open his business. He said that despite the challenges, he enjoyed working alongside his friend in New Haven.

“It’s something new for me, it’s quite fast and it gets crowded, but I really like it,” Arredondo said. “[The fire] It was a setback, but now that we’re back and open, we’re back and here we go.

Eskunder Boyd, who works nearby, recently saw the restaurant had reopened and decided to step in.

Although it was his first time at the restaurant, he said the atmosphere would definitely bring him back.

“I work nearby and saw it open, and I was hungry, so I thought I’d give it a try.” Boyd said. “Very beautiful, very well lit, it feels good [and] there is a good chance that I will come back.

Tacos Los Gordos has now been open for about a month, and Marcial said he feels like the restaurant never left.

He said that before Tacos Los Gordos opened, some of his customers were looking for authentic Mexican food in the area, just like him. Marcial said Tacos Los Gordos offers something for everyone, but especially for those who initially couldn’t find food that “brought them closer to their place of origin.”

“I’m from California… [and] every time I came here I always wanted good Mexican food that brought me home,” Marcial said. “My opinion [on Mexican food] that’s what I learned from very little — I don’t touch it. I don’t add extra things to my tacos like sour cream or tomatoes or anything like that. That’s how it’s done in Mexico.

Tacos Los Gordos is located at 167 Orange St.


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