Chalco's Mexican Grill, new to Dubai, is already creating a buzz because of it's deliciously authentic Mexican food. We were delighted to have a little chat with Edgar Jimenez, the owner of Chalco's.
When I was a kid, my parents owned a restaurant in LA. I used to work in it when I was only 10 years old. I loved that feeling and loved how we knew everyone in town. Our Spanish Rice is inspired by my grandma. I remember as a kid going over to her house and she used to make us her rice. It was just perfect in flavor and texture. She made it with such love and passion and it just tasted amazing. Our Spanish rice is a tomato based rice that has a 3 stage process in cooking. Some can't do it and some just master it.
Chalco's - a unique concept
What makes us very popular is due to focusing more on flavors, freshness, everything is made on site, we don't buy anything pre made. Unlike our other competitors we don't buy tortilla chips from a bag. We make our own. We cook our own meats on site and marinade them here in our own kitchen. We don't bring our food from an industrial kitchen we make it on site daily. Our prices would also make us very popular. We don't charge an arm and a leg for a taco or burrito. We aim to cater to everyone. We have amazing lunch deals that attract all sorts of patrons. Location, quality, and price is what I believe in.
We're very happy to bring our Super Deluxe Burrito to Dubai. It's a large 12 inch tortilla filled with rice, beans, lettuce, choice of meat, wrapped and topped with enchilada sauce, melted cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole. This is a very popular dish in El Segundo, California and we are very proud to bring it to Dubai.
Most significant food memory
I fondly remember trying a dish called Barbacoa. We had this dish in Chalco, Mexico. Barbacoa is lamb cooked in an under ground oven. It's cooked slowly over night. It is seasoned lamb wrapped with banana, avocado leaves, and dropped into an under ground oven for slow cooking. We had it in Mexico and it was the most amazing dish I ever tried. The flavor of the meat was just absolutely amazing. The meat came right off the bone when you lifted it.
Richard Palomo. He owns and operates El Tarasco Mexican Food in the South Bay, Redondo, Manhattan Beach etc. He taught me all I needed to know about operating a Mexican Restsurant. His passion and drive for the business is extraordinary. He is a family man and a wonderful human being. Richard has expanded his restaurants to 12 units in Los Angeles. Which is amazing because in LA there are Mexican restaurants in every corner.
The biggest challenge in my career was when I lived in Ireland. Trying to get the community to taste and try Mexican Food was hard work. That side of the world are mostly used to more bland flavors. But we kept to it and kept educating the students of Belfast about Mexican Food. By our second year of operation our "wee" Chalcos was so busy. It was wonderful to see other countries enjoying our food.
If I didn't open my own business I would probably be coaching kids American Football. Both are rewarding and both are my passion. I love the fact that we meet new people everyday. Our customers are amazing and when you build a bond with your clientele I believe that's the most rewarding feeling in the industry.
Words of wisdom
I think the best advise you can give anyone starting is don't panic, it takes time. Once you see the bills adding up some people tend to panic. But if you work hard, and keep at it. The rest will come. The food industry is not as hard as people make it out to be. Lots of colonies focus too much on percentages and numbers and end up losing track of what's most important, service and food.