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Leonel Rosario's family journeyed from Oaxaca, one of the southernmost Mexican states, to pick fruit in the groves of the Niagara Escarpment. The Rosarios opened a small grocery in Medina, and named it after Monte Alban, the Oaxacan city built sometime around 500 B.C. Serving migrant farm workers, the grocery led to a taco trailer, then a nearby restaurant, Mariachi …

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As soccer fans gathered around the new blue food truck, one question buzzed repeatedly in conversation: "Just what exactly is a torta?" The Casa Azul Torta Truck made one of its first appearances last Friday, serving during FC Buffalo's home game against the Erie Commodores. The mobile extension of Casa Azul, the Mexican brick-and-mortar restaurant at 128 Genesee St., i…

Food and Drink

Owners of a Medina Mexican restaurant are expecting to offer Oaxacan specialties along with more familiar fare when they take over the former Trattoria Aroma on North French Road in Amherst. Leonel Rosario started his cooking career in a taco trailer next to the Monte Alban Mexican grocery in Medina. Eight years ago, he opened Mariachi de Oro nearby. If all goes as p…

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The space and equipment used for Hali Boyz Mexican is for sale, in anticipation of its March 30 closure. Malak Mazeh and his brother Nour opened the halal taco spot at 388 Amherst St. in May 2017, after extensive upgrades on the building. In a Facebook statement March 12, they announced it was for sale, for $48,000 or best offer, for the lease and contents. Holi Boyz…

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Briana Rose Hunter, owner of Breezy Burrito Co. in EXPO Market food hall, has announced she will take over 1000 Elmwood Ave. for her first stand-alone location, to be called Breezy Burrito Bar. Hunter founded the business in January 2017, when her fast-casual Mexican-American concept became part of the second wave of vendors to open inside EXPO. The location in the down…

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Before Buffalo acquired its current lineup of Mexican restaurants, I drove for hours searching for flavors I missed. In Medina, Mariachi de Oro restaurant and the seasonal taco trailer at the Monte Alban grocery store made an hour’s drive seem reasonable. I followed clues scoured from anonymous Internet strangers to Albion (disappointing) and Geneseo, where I found enco…

Food and Drink

A broad overview of the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Buffalo-area restaurants reveals a stark contrast: Some pour resources into or take painstaking care in how they represent themselves, while others take shortcuts. These promotions won't make or break a restaurant - the quality of the food and restaurant experience are still more crucial - but this is a time whe…

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The restaurant spot at the corner of Hudson Street and West Avenue, a few blocks from the Niagara Street Tops, has a new operation in residence. After a succession of Puerto Rican outfits, 272 Hudson St. is now home to The Difference Kitchen, a cafe with Mexican, Middle Eastern, and vegetarian leanings. Owner Lucille Altieri, who formerly operated Presto on Allen Str…

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This might sound like heresy, but: enough tacos. They might be the most popular Mexican meal of the moment, but I submit that taco myopia blinds us to the pleasures of the rest of the Mexican table. Stopping at tacos is like finishing your first hamburger and deciding that’s all the American food you want to try. Here’s 10 Mexican family restaurants where you can …

Food and Drink

For eaters who calibrated their Mexican cuisine meters in Mexico, Los Angeles and Austin, Buffalo was a vale of sorrow for most of my life. That's changed. There's still plenty of room for improvements, but at least there's places to get tacos that don't automatically come with lettuce and shredded cheese. Legitimate Mexican tacos on fresh corn tortillas, the sandwic…

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Malak Mazeh had spent enough time managing chain restaurants. Born in East Los Angeles, he wanted a restaurant that reflected his roots and his Muslim faith, but also a new city that had slowly won him over. After his older brother married a Buffalonian, Mazeh spent three years in Buffalo before moving back to Los Angeles in 2015. Knowing he'd have the financial support…

Food and Drink

Cantina 62, the Lackawanna taqueria, will close at the end of March after losing its lease. It'll be tacos as usual at 2723 South Park Ave. until March 30, said owner Matthew Krupp. "We're looking for other space," he said. Cantina 62 opened on Nov. 9, 2016. Krupp said he knew the building needed work when he got into it, but thought he could work it out. "When I did…

Food and Drink

Until earlier this month, the East Aurora building at 34 Hamburg St. - just off the main traffic circle - had sat vacant since Dec. 30, 2014, when Burger King closed its doors. In 2016, Mighty Taco considered moving in for more space than its Grey Street location but was ultimately priced out. For the last week and change, the building has bustled with life, as Las Bras…

Food and Drink

A good margarita isn't simple to pull off. The preferred mix of tequila, triple sec and lime juice varies by the drinker; some want top-shelf tequila at the front (and the back), others are fine with a sugary beverage to mask the taste of well tequila, while still others demand a delicate balance. Calling upon pre-made margarita mix might be considered cutting corners f…

Food and Drink

A new Mexican restaurant has opened where in the East Amherst plaza space formerly occupied by Chester's Cajun. Juanes Mexican Restaurant, 9416 Transit Road, opened in late January, said Daniel Paz, son of owner Juan Paz. It's a family restaurant, staffed by Paz's relatives, Daniel Paz said. They hail from Apozol, Zacatecas state in Mexico. His father has been runnin…