May 27—Personality goes a long way.
Joe Kahn knew that going in when he founded Condado Tacos in the Short North Arts District neighborhood of Columbus in 2014.
And he hasn’t abandoned the philosophy as evidenced by the May 26 opening of the franchise’s Mentor location, which, like all the locations, stands out with floor-to-ceiling mural artwork created by local artists featuring company characters and references to local landmarks and characteristic city features.
“We’re very proud of the look because it sticks out and reflects the vibes of the neighborhood,” the Northeast Ohio native said. “We’re excited and we always love coming home to Cleveland. Mentor is one of my favorite towns. I’ve spent a lot of time here and I love this location. I think we’re going to do very well here.”
Condado Tacos Assistant Manager and Training Lead Isis Johnson prepares “Braised + Confused” and “Sweet Heat” suggestions signatures at the newly opened eatery at 7720 Mentor Ave. (Chad Felton ??
To date, Mentor marks the 15th Condado (Tacos — Tequila — Margaritas) spot in Ohio. Another recent opening in Charlotte, North Carolina, marks 32 locations in 11 markets across seven states.
Not a bad bit of growth for an eight-year-old enterprise.
Kahn said Cleveland has been an extremely solid market for Condado, with three high-performing locations already, and, with Mentor being “its own trade area” in Lake County, he noted it made sense to extend the base within a high-density location .
Condado Tacos, at 7220 Mentor Ave. is now open. The Mentor eatery marks the 15th spot in Ohio. (Chad Felton ??
The eatery — known for its build-your-own concept — employs about 60 to 70 people, covering 4,200-square-feet and is set up with 120 dining seats, 21 bar seats, and 38 patio seats.
“The arrival of Condado Tacos in Mentor represents yet another upscale fast-casual national brand that sees the benefit of locating in Mentor’s vibrant economic hub,” said Kevin Malecek, director of economic development and international trade. “Their modern take and the accompanying tequila and margaritas will be a tremendous addition to the Great Lakes Mall area.”
While the opening process had its challenges, especially with supply chain issues, Kahn and his team noted Mentor’s has been smooth in terms of executing agreements and planning.
And when the pandemic first hit, almost immediately, Condado’s business model changed, like many spots, to-go only.
“It turned out to be a huge growth area for the brand once guests started dining in again because we could also continue to grow our catering business. It truly has expanded the Condado footprint,” added Roger Drake, public relations and marketing consultant.
“The company plans to double in size by the end of 2023 as it expands its existing successful markets with newer locations, as well as growing new restaurants into the Southeastern corridor and beyond.”
The expansion, Kahn, added, will continue to celebrate inclusivity, individuality, and community connection, including scholarships and supporting underprivileged artists with various partners.
“It’s what we stand for,” he said. “That’s the positive we embrace. ‘Condado’ actually means ‘county’ and I wanted to have the best tacos in the county, in the community. That’s the meaning and it just made a lot of sense.”
Condado Tacos is located at 7720 Mentor Ave. in Mentor.
For more information, including hours of operation and menu options, visit www.condadotacos.com.