The family that's owned and operated the popular El Cazador restaurant in downtown Missoula for a quarter of a century is in the final stages of opening a new location at 2221 South Ave.
The new El Caz Taqueria will be in the old Viva Mexico restaurant building, which is undergoing a full remodel right now.
"We are hoping to be open in three months," explained Maria Hernandez. She and her husband, Alfredo, and their children are envisioning the new spot to be more for Missoula locals, as the downtown location is usually overflowing with tourists because of its location right on Higgins Avenue.
Maria and Alfredo's daughters, Lala and Isabel Hernandez, have turned the family catering truck into a permanent food truck in the parking lot of the new location for now, which they'll operate until the restaurant is ready. Then, they'll be heading up operations there.
"We're excited," Lala explained, while taking orders for pineapple and steak mini-tacos from a customer.
Lala and Isabel are instrumental in the food truck's popularity, according to Maria. That's because you'd be hard-pressed to ever find the duo in a rotten mood, even during the heat of summer.
"They're always happy, always cheerful," she said. "Customers come back to see them."
Maria Hernandez said the pandemic delayed the opening, but they're working hard on painting the interior and re-doing the kitchen. Eventually, they hope to have a large south-facing outdoor patio, but for now they're just focusing on getting the inside ready.
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