|Photos by Ed Huyck|
|Andale is a Mexican restaurant and a grocery store|
It's been a slow build for the Andale Taqueria Y Mercado
. Co-owner Fernando Mellado notes that there was about $30,000 in business in the first month of the restaurant side of the business. It didn't take long, however, for that to triple. Along the way, the restaurant has picked up fans and accolades from the likes of Minnesota Monthly,
which mentioned it two months in a row.
"We added more tables and chairs and have a patio for people to sit outside for lunch. We do a little better everyday. It's going the way we like it," he says.
Located at 7700 Nicollet Avenue in Richfield, Andale offers a traditional Mexican menu in the restaurant and a traditional small grocery store attached. The owners have worked the market side of the business before but looked to expand into both sides for their latest venture.
"People ask why we don't have lettuce on the tacos or why the salsa is runny. That's how salsa is in Mexico, and that's how tacos are served," Mellado says.
The restaurant offers "the real deal: enchiladas, tacos, and Mexican sandwiches, tortas. That's what people come for here," he says.
The menu includes plenty of favorites, such as the tacos (about $2 a pop), big-as-your-head burritos, and quesadillas. The tortas are served on a telera roll with a choice of filling, fresco beans, queso, avocado, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos.
|The al pastor (sliced marinated pork) alambres.|
One of the favorites -- both of Mellado and customers -- are the alambres. For these, a foundation of green and red peppers, onions, bacon, and ham are mixed with a choice of topping and then smothered in cheese. All of it is served on five double corn tortillas. Low cal? No. Delicious? Oh yes.
Part of that can be attributed to the various toppings, from marinated pork to slow-cooked roast beef to house-made chorizo. (Yes, you can get the alambres "tradicional" -- without a topping.)
Andale also serves breakfast and has a number of special items, such as menudo and a traditional shrimp cocktail.
If you enjoy the food at the restaurant, the grocery store "has everything we sell in the restaurant, so you can buy it and take it home," Mellado says.
Andale has seen a healthy mix of customers since it opened, drawing customers from the local businesses or those coming out for an authentic meal. There's a similar mix for the market, which strives to provide the needs of a neighborhood grocery store, with dry goods, fresh produce, and breads and pastries cooked daily.
"The market seems to be more visited by the Hispanic community, but we do get a lot of customers who come and look around, maybe buy a pastry," Mellado says.
And what of the overall experience?
"It's been fun. It's the first time we've done something like this, and it has been a blast," Mellado says.
For more information, call 612.259.8868 (taqueria) or 612.259.8929 (mercado).
7700 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN