The newly-opened Taco Nano is bringing authentic Mexican flavors and fresh, handmade ingredients to Northfield thanks to chef Freddy Sanchez and his wife Susan.
Sanchez, who also works as the Executive Chef of The Happ Inn Bar and Grill nearby, began cooking when he moved to America from a rural area in Mexico at age 16. After graduating from Washburn Culinary School, Sanchez worked at many noted restaurants across Chicago, such as Ed Debevic's, Shaw's Crab House, Food Life and Scoozi. He also worked as the Corporate Chef for the Adobo Grill, where he assisted with opening four locations.
In 2009, he began as a consultant at the Happ Inn. When he was asked to stay on as the executive chef he said he would — if they would agree to open a taqueria with him.
"Two years later, my dream came true and here we are," Sanchez said.
Taco Nano is colorfully decorated, with bright walls and Mexico-inspired colors. It isn't large, which is exactly what Sanchez said.
"I always had the idea to open a small place where I could talk to people," Sanchez said. "It's more intimate. I can cook for you and then talk to you."
The tacos served at Taco Nano are "upscale...with garnishes," Sanchez described.
Some of the most popular ones include the Pork Al Pastor (which is layered pork, onion and pineapple pico de gallo, cilantro and fried jalapeno rings) and the Vegetariano (with crispy potatoes, poblano rajas, portobello mushroom, cotija cheese and cilantro-lime crema).
But it's not only the tacos that are handmade — Sanchez also makes the 32-ingredient mole sauce (which takes eight hours) and the guacamole, which is made to order and hand ground in a mortar.
Susan, Sanchez's wife, works as the manager of Taco Nano.
"We get along very well," Sanchez said "[Working together] has not been a problem — we don't mix work and personal life."
"It's been good so far," she said. "We work together, we live together and we're still crazy about each other!"
Taco Nano is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. It's located at 1743 Orchard Ln. in Northfield. For more information, visit the restaurant online here.
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