By Celeste Benzschawel
Tacos El Huequito, an authentic and popular taco restaurant, is on the brink of opening its new location at Viña Apartments on E. 48th Avenue in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.
Owners Ramon Aguirre and his wife Lorena Alvarez first started their business in 2015 as a trailer food grill and then food truck, and afterwards opened their first storefront in 2018. Since then, they’ve been building quite the fanbase, and were even designated as one of the top 10 food trucks in Denver and Boulder by Westword in 2018.
Aguirre said working in the food industry was chosen for him. He grew up with his parents and other family members owning restaurants, so he has been around the atmosphere his whole life. At around age 15 or 16, Aguirre started working in his uncle’s restaurant and hasn’t looked back.
Fast forward to now: the couple was approached by Columbia Ventures, a real estate company based in Georgia, to relocate from their old location at 46th Avenue and Josephine Street to Viña Apartments on their dime. It was time for Aguirre to take that next step, he said.
Columbia Ventures opened Viña Apartments in early summer 2022 to mitigate displacement pressure and provide affordable housing in the G.E.S. neighborhoods. Columbia Ventures managing partner Dillon Baynes played a direct role in inviting Tacos El Huequito to relocate to their property, which will be next door to Tepeyac Community Health Center.
“We ate at the store, which was just a few blocks from our Viña project, on the recommendation of a couple different contractors,” Baynes said in email correspondence. “The food was terrific. The owners, Ramon and Lorena, were warm and friendly, and we were sold. We recruited them from that point on.”
Baynes said they’ve invested several hundred thousand dollars in their build out. They’re hoping to get them open early this year, but have run into a few construction delays. Whenever they open the doors, Baynes is looking forward to “an experienced, local, and proven family-run restaurant at an accessible price point offering delicious food with the right kind of atmosphere. They are terrific,” he said.
Once Tacos El Huequito opens, Aguirre plans to serve food for longer hours. Since they’ll be spending more time at the restaurant, they’re still deciding whether or not to continue serving through the food truck, he said. Among their staples like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, they’re excited to offer some new menu items, too. They’re going to focus more on home cooked meals like chicken mole, tinga, and maybe sopes, Aguirre said.
“We’re still talking about the menu, but definitely we’re bringing new things,” he said.
Aguirre is most excited about the new clientele they’ll bring in at Tacos El Huequito by being closer to the coliseum and next to Tepeyac Community Health Center.