• Ashley Jackson and Dylan McWilliams

Let's taco bout Condado

The rise in popularity of local taco chain, Condado Tacos, has recently announced that it will be expanding the number of restaurants, including one opening on Polaris Parkway. The new restaurant will open this summer around August and will be located on 8958 Lyra Drive.

Joe Kahn, CEO and owner of Condado, decided to open another Condado in the Polaris area due to the wide demographic and dense population that Polaris brings. There are four other locations in the Columbus area in Short North, Downtown, Easton, and Clintonville, one in Pittsburgh and this will be the sixth location.

“There’s not that much out there (Polaris) that’s fresh and not a part of a chain. It’s really neat that we can open up there and very exciting for the company,” Kahn said.

Although this is the first Condado Tacos in the Polaris area, the restaurant’s concept isn’t brand new. Seven years ago in Cleveland, Kahn was co-creator of Barrio, a taco restaurant that’s almost identical to Condado. Kahn ended up selling his portion of the business and ventured to Columbus to begin his own project.

“I decided to rebrand Barrio under the name Condado, and my old partner stayed in Cleveland and I came to Columbus. I came up with the concept in about an hour and was really lucky because it worked and that doesn’t happen very often. I basically took four of my favorite places and said this is what I want to do, put them all together and melded it into Condado. How it looks now and everything else is how it was from the beginning,” Kahn said.

What sets Condado apart from other taco and Mexican restaurants chains is the fresh ingredients and ability to customize one’s tacos. Condado’s easy-going menu allows customers to order their food using a bubble sheet to fill in what ingredients they would like in their one-of-a-kind taco. They can also choose from various “popular” tacos with pre-picked ingredients.

“We make everything from scratch every day and use the freshest products we can get. There’s around 1.4 million combinations of tacos so it gives people a lot of freedom when deciding what to put in their taco,” said Kahn.

While Condado mainly focuses on their tacos, they also offer guacamole, queso and margaritas that are all very popular and are a perfect side to go with the tacos. Condado’s menu is vegan and vegetarian friendly, with Thai tofu chili, BBQ jackfruit and portobello mushrooms available as protein alternatives.

“A popular protein item for vegetarians is the BBQ jackfruit. When you cook it, it mimics the flavor of pork so vegetarians love it. Root beer braised beef is another big item and obviously our guacamole is one of the biggest. We go through millions of pounds of avocados a year. For all our stores combined, around 60-100 cases a day,” Kahn said.

The prices of the tacos range from $3 to $5 depending on what shell and protein one chooses. The atmosphere of Condado is unique with Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” murals covering the walls.

“The restaurant itself is aesthetically-pleasing and has a really cool atmosphere. The chips and queso fill me up so much that I only ever need to get one taco anyway. It’s a pretty cheap meal, especially for how good the quality is,” senior Jane Koblens said.

Condado Tacos will be open every day until 2 a.m. so make sure to stop by a local Condado Tacos to create your own unique taco this summer!

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