Chandler's Taqueria Factory focuses on tacos - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler’s Taqueria Factory focuses on tacos

September 17th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler’s Taqueria Factory focuses on tacos

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

Gamaliel (Gabe) Garfio said that when opening a new restaurant, owners must make some big decisions that will decide what kind of business they want to be.

Some of them are tempting.

“When you open up a restaurant, you have choices, of how you’re going to go to market,” he said. “And believe me when I tell you, it’s very tempting when the purveyors … show you these buckets of salsa, and there’s buckets of avocado, and here’s meats that have already been seasoned and all you have to do just throw them on the grill, right? I’m not going to lie to you, it’s very tempting, because it saves you a lot of money and labor.”

With a quarter century of experience in the restaurant industry, Garfio decided he wanted his new venture to make its food from scratch.

Garfio, who owns eight Fruitlandia stores in the Valley, is branching out and starting a new taco restaurant, Taqueria Factory, at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Ray Road.

Despite the temptation, he turned down the purveyors.

“It’s not fresh,” he said. “And one of our goals was to satisfy the masses, right. But for us, it was very important for the Hispanic market to be the ones that we would target.

“First and foremost, because for us, if we could satisfy the Hispanic market, which is really the most difficult one to satisfy, then we knew that everybody else would more likely enjoy what we offer.”

More than two months in and Garfio said his new venture appears to be a success, with a number of repeat customers in the Hispanic community.

The restaurants are very much a family affair.

Gabe co-owns both Fruitlandia and Taqueria Factory with his wife, Maria. His son Gabriel is the chef and his other son Fernando is the operations manager. Their daughter, Briana, is in charge of marketing and social media.

They decided to open Taqueria Factory because customers to Fruitlandia, which is a Mexican dessert shop, kept asking for Mexican food. They saw an opportunity. The Chandler location for both restaurants are right next to each other, so customers could order lunch at Taqueria Factory and then pick up dessert at Fruitlandia.

“People would ask, do you guys sell tacos, burritos and different Mexican food options? And obviously, we don’t. And we decided, now that we acquired this building, and we had the space, we had been thinking about coming up with a concept that would take care of those requests.”

The concept is basically to become the In-n-Out Burger of tacos.

“They only sell one thing, right?” Gabe said.

So they keep the menu simple. There are only four choices of meat for tacos: Al pastor (pork); carne asada (beef); birria (beef) and pollo (chicken). Fernando, the operations manager, said the top seller on the menu is the quesabirrias.

“You got these cheesy quesadilla which you stuff with some marinated shredded beef and dip it in its own broth,” said Gabriel, the chef. “That’s just the moneymaker right now.”

The tag line for Taqueira Factory is Tacos and Miches. That would be micheladas, which is an alcoholic drink made with beer, lime, juice and assorted sauces and spices.

Gabe said the family’s Fruitlandia business is doing well after opening in 2006. In addition to the eight current locations, there are two more scheduled to open soon. And they are talking to people interested in purchasing a franchise both in and outside of Arizona.

He said if the Taqueria Factory model is a success, they might open more locations in the future. It’s not an easy accomplishment in a major city where there’s a Mexican food restaurant on nearly every corner.

“I think that competition makes businesses better,” Gabe said. “In my opinion, I would like to be, hopefully, some sort of motivation for other restaurants to maybe step up their game, if they’re not there already.

“I don’t want to be the one that comes in and closes other restaurants. That’s not my intent. I would love to be the one that comes in and other restaurants in the area maybe use a little bit of what we’ve done here, which we believe it’s very special.”