Until recently, Dedham was a Mexican food desert. Instead of traveling across town to get a bite to eat, Carlos Chavira and his sister Nohely Chavira-Williams decided to fill the burrito-sized hole in the local restaurant scene by opening Pancho’s Taqueria. A year later, this build-your-own-taco joint is a popular destination for foodies all over Boston. We sat down with Carlos to chat about how the brother-sister duo came to be restaurateurs and even got the scoop on some exciting plans for 2018.
What’s the story behind Pancho’s?
I have a long background in the restaurant business. After managing a few chains, my family encouraged me to open Pancho’s with my sister, Nohely. It’s a team effort, but I owe a lot of our success to Nohely because she’s the one who pushed me to make Pancho’s a dream come true. We opened in March 2016.
How long have you been working with Fooda?
In December it will be a year. We work really well together; the Fooda team in Boston is great.
What is your best-selling dish?
The burrito is our best seller. With Fooda, we don’t have pre-set burritos; our customers love making their own and choosing their favorite fillings. In the restaurant we have a fish burrito that’s really popular. We were unsure how it would go over at first, but people really love it. It comes with Mexican rice, grilled fish, broccoli slaw, guacamole, chipotle and cilantro dressing.
What is your personal favorite dish?
I’m not a salad guy, but I love Pancho’s salad. It’s a great combo, pretty much like a taco salad. It comes with lettuce, black beans, grilled corn, cotija cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, cilantro lime dressing and chips, with your choice of protein. I always get steak carne asada or chicken.
Where do you find inspiration for the menu?
Our prep cook has been with us since we opened. She and Nohely came up with the menu, and she’s really consistent. She is the one who brings everything to life from the ideas my sister and I have.
Do you have a recipe we can share?
Our mild salsa is simple, but it’s really tasty and goes well with our food. It’s just chopped tomatoes mixed with onion, a little bit of serrano pepper, salt and pepper.
What is a misconception people have about Mexican food?
We get a lot of customers who come in asking if our tacos are soft or hard shell. It’s funny because in Mexico we don’t have hard shell tacos. Another misconception is that people think everything is spicy. When we prepare our food in Mexico it’s not spicy at all. We spice it up with sauces, which is what we do at Pancho’s as well.
Do you have any exciting plans for Pancho’s in 2018?
We just started serving breakfast burritos on weekends. We’re also looking into either a second location or a food truck, but we don’t have anything set in stone yet.
The foodies have spoken and named Pancho’s Taqueria the Best Mexican Lunch in Boston. Think this family-run eatery has what it takes to win best overall lunch in the city?