GARDNER ― Taco Rey Coliman owner Artemio Escareno opened his restaurant eight years ago in an effort to give residents the chance to taste authentic Mexican food.Escareno has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years, and he has been serving Gardner since 2015. He said what pushed him to open Taco Rey is the fact that there aren’t any Mexican restaurants in the area.”I wanted to introduce Mexican food in this area because there weren’t any Mexican restaurants, the only one was Taco Bell,” he said. “People in this area had the wrong idea of what was authentic Mexican food.”Before moving to Gardner in 2000, Escareno said he first opened a Taqueria in Fitchburg. Unfortunately, six years later he had to close. He tried again nine years later and ever since the Gardner community has welcomed the food they made with open arms.Escareno said he is happy to give the community another option to dine out especially because in the Gardner area there isn’t a lot of opportunity to try food from other cultures. He said all of his menu items are homemade from scratch and his best seller has to be the burritos, tacos, and empanadas.”Our food is not Tex Mex or an Americanized version of Mexican food,” he said. “We make 100% authentic homemade Mexican food.”
After the pandemic, Escareno said they get more takeout orders and delivery orders than ever. He said the amount of people who actually come into the restaurant to sit down and eat is low compared to what they experienced four years ago.
There are no current plans to expand the restaurant or establish a catering service. Escareno said he would like to expand at some point, but he is still paying back the federal business loans he took out during the peak of the pandemic in 2020.
He said his restaurant is afloat and he is grateful to the community responding well to his business.
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Cinco de Mayo is this Friday so grab some Mexican food from Taco Rey at 7 Pleasant St to celebrate. Escareno said they aren’t doing a special deal for the celebration, but all of their food is special because of the authenticity.
“Don’t be afraid to try our food, they might have a skewed idea of what Mexican food taste like and never tried it because of that,” he said. “If they had tried it somewhere else and did not like it, they should give it another chance and try our food.”