El Toritos Tacos to open in University Market on Front Street

Mexican bar & grille El Torito opening in The Lazy Bee’s previous location


Chase Gilroy, The Exponent

A picture depicting El Torito’s Nacho’s, taco’s and other various appetizers

With The Lazy Bee out of commission for over three years, there has been an empty spot at 126 Front St. waiting to be filled by a new business. That is where the Mexican bar & grill El Torito Tacos is set to come in.  

The new El Torito Tacos location opening soon in University Market, the mixed-use dorm and retail building next to BW’s Conservatory of Music, will be the third restaurant in a chain that spans across Northern Ohio. El Torito currently has open locations in Twinsburg and on Pearl Road in nearby Middleburg Heights.  

Charlie Schalk, a sophomore environmental science and geology student, said that they and their peers have not heard much about the upcoming restaurant.   

“I wish we knew a bit more about it. Generally, I feel like we haven’t really heard anything other than that it’s supposedly opening soon,” Shalk said. “I wonder if it is associated with [BW] at all, or if it is like an independent business or anything like that.”    

Esmeralda Duarte, a part owner of the family business’s Middleburg Heights location, said that they have no plans yet to partner with the University but that they are open to the idea.   

“We have heard about the Baldwin Wallace meal plan, but we haven’t gotten in contact with anyone to set that up,” Duarte said. “When we actually start opening, we will work on talking with them about it.”   

Currently, the date of the grand opening is unknown, but Duarte said they should have that information solidified soon.  

“We don’t have a date yet. We are finishing up the last few details in the kitchen right now, so we hope to have a date by March for sure,” Duarte said. “Otherwise, we should definitely be open before the end of the semester.”   

Schalk said they hope El Torito’s Taco will accommodate dietary restrictions since they and their friends have struggled in the past to find food that fits their needs.  

“I’m definitely hoping that they’re a dietary-inclusive restaurant. I have a minor gluten allergy, and I know a lot of friends that have peanut and other tree nut allergies and stuff like that,” Shalk said. “I feel like sometimes the [Union dining hall] struggles to meet those requirements, so it’d be nice to have another affordable option right next to campus when you know you might struggle to find a dinner.”   

Duarte said El Torito’s Tacos provides various vegetarian options and that they are more than willing to work with customers on providing meals to meet individual dietary needs.   

“We have a vegetarian section that I really like,” Duarte said. “I highly recommend the veggie fajitas for sure, and I think our veggie taco meal is the best.”   

Once they have an official opening date, the owners at El Torito said that they will put up posters, get in contact with BW, inform the City of Berea and begin promotional work to let people know what is coming.   

“Meanwhile, if anybody wants to swing by and check out our food and drinks here, they can come down to our Middleburg location,” Duarte said. “We will have the same menu, the same name and a lot of the staff will be moving between locations as well. I’ll be over there at the Berea location myself as well.”