25/05/2024 11:32 PM

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Car wash-turned-restaurant Taco Borracho opens May 5


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids foodies will have an extra reason to celebrate this Cinco de Mayo: After more than a year of construction, Taco Borracho plans to open to the public.

“It’s been a long road, but on May 5th we are going to open our doors to you- sharing our vision, our food and our love,” Taco Boraccho posted on Instagram Sunday.

The restaurant replaces a former car wash on the northwest corner of Michigan Street and Eastern Avenue, which sat vacant for years. Owner Angel Gonzalez acquired the building in late 2020 and has been renovating the space since.

“What’s been very interesting is that this building actually lends itself really nice to what we’re trying to do, in some ways better than probably what we would’ve got had we started from scratch. I remember having a conversation with (former Grand Rapids Development Director) Suzanne Schulz about 10 years ago about the building and she said, ‘Well, we made sure that they designed it in a way so that one day if it stopped being a car wash, you know, somebody could do something really cool there.’ And that’s come to fruition,” Gonzalez told the Grand Rapids Planning Commission in May 2021.

Gonzalez has a background in residential development and has been working in the city for 20 years.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this and this opportunity to come about in this location in a neighborhood that I don’t live to far from was really exciting to me and to us,” Gonzalez said last year.

(A March 17, 2022 photo shows Taco Borracho at the corner of Michigan Street and Eastern Avenue NE in Grand Rapids.)

Gonzalez said his goal is to take the interior ambiance outside to Taco Borracho’s two outdoor patios. The east patio is designed so the bartender can serve people seated at inside and outside bars. He said the restaurant is meant to be a unique space for friends and family to gather with light music playing in the background, not like the club-like atmosphere of other bars.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved the plans for the family-owned restaurant during that May 2021 meeting.

“When I saw this property go up for sale, I thought this is going to be vacant for a long time. And then when I saw what was coming and of course saw the design, I have to say kudos to you for, the developer for repurposing a car wash into what looks like a higher and better use and more attractive and a place I hope to frequent,” Grand Rapids Planning Commission member Susan Shannon said last year. “A really, really beautiful job and I think will add to what we see happening all up and down Michigan Street in extensions of the redevelopment to our neighborhoods.”

In Sunday’s Instagram post, Gonzalez said last year was a hard one for his family: he lost his father. Gonzalez said his father would check in daily on him and the restaurant renovations.

“We are all still so heartbroken from his loss that occurred several months ago, and none of us will ever be the same. I’m thankful he got to see what I was putting my heart into. He taught me if you’re going to do something, do it with all of you and by doing so you can never fail,” Gonzalez stated on Instagram.

Taco Borracho is now hiring cooks and prep cooks. Those interested should contact the business through its Facebook page.


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