Downtown Ann Arbor is now home to its very own Condado Tacos, a build-your-own taco joint complete with vibrant floor-to-ceiling murals and a signature margarita menu.
The Ohio-based company opened its new location to the public Thursday morning with a special “Year of Yum” which offered the first one hundred visitors one free taco per week for a year. The eatery also offered all customers $5 margaritas and the chance to win a $1,000 gift card.
The opening-day special offerings attracted hundreds of students and local residents to the restaurant, with the first visitors lining up as early as 8 a.m. LSA senior Katherine Springer said she attended the opening for the chance of earning a year’s worth of free tacos, especially since she has visited other locations of Condado Tacos.
“We love free food,” Springer said. “My sister actually lives outside of Cincinnati (and) she has (Condado Tacos locations) around her so we’ll go to eat (there). And I know they’re really good tacos, so I just got really excited.”
Since the company’s establishment in 2014, 30 Condado Tacos locations have popped up across six states in the Midwest. According to Rob Hanley, the Ann Arbor location’s general manager, 401 E. Liberty Street is the company’s fourth installment in Southeastern Michigan’s Detroit metropolitan area.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Hanley said he attributed much of the opening day’s success to the company’s reputation across the Midwest.
“We got past a hundred (people by) around 9:15,” Hanley said. “We have a lot of people that go around the Midwest, where we’re predominantly located, (who) want to come in (and) be one of the first ones in the space to see all the new artwork and stuff like that … So we filled up shortly after we opened for the first time at 11.”
Inside, the restaurant’s wall murals are filled with vibrant splashes of color and graffiti-style lettering. One tag reads “University of Yum,” referencing the location’s proximity to the University of Michigan’s campus. Hanley said the restaurant collaborated with local artists to bring the indoor space to life.
“We hire a lot of local muralists and artists to come in and give our space a unique and very vibrant display,” Hanley said. “We are very big on supporting the arts … Part of our building is (designed) to remind people of the Ann Arbor Graffiti Alley. So we have portions of our building that recreates that vibe with the different types of graffiti art that artists came in and did.”
LSA junior Zhen Lin said the restaurant’s ambiance was well-suited to the younger demographic of U-M students.
“The first thing I really like is the environment and the backdrop,” Lin said. “I think it’s more fitting to our generation. We like to Instagram a lot of our food and (take) pictures around them. (This) is the perfect place to do that, everything’s really eye-appealing.”
Hanley said the restaurant is looking forward to creating new job opportunities within the local community.
“We’re big believers in ‘come as you are,’” Hanley said. “Being able to give opportunities to people to (grow with the company) and advance themselves … Being able to employ a lot of the local people is absolutely amazing … We don’t have a uniform, we want you to come as you are.”
Daily Staff Reporter Irena Li and Daily News Contributor Serina Jiang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.