Owners of legendary street food van Habanero have opened a permanent Mexican restaurant
A much-loved street food independent has a permanent restaurant opening in the city centre.
The well known street food independent Habanero on Cherry Street has been feeding city centre workers for over eight years.
Habanero first pitched up their food truck outside Pigeon Park in March 2013 and have been serving burritos and nachos to hungry city centre workers ever since.
Owner Carl O’Connor and Ben Fisher have now opened a permanent spot inside the Great Western Arcade.
On the menu, enjoy all the Habanero favourites including burritos in a variety of flavours such as chicken Tinga, carnitas pulled pork, and roasted vegetables.
There are also tacos, salad bowls and nachos served with sour cream, chilli lime mayo or Habanero’s signature hot salsa.
And thanks to Habanero’s new kitchen space, Carl and Ben can also cook up daily specials including jackfruit mole and teriyaki beef.
Co-owner Carl told us: “When we first launched eight and half years ago we always had the idea that if things went well we would have our own restaurant opening in Birmingham but it just didn’t go to plan.
“We had been looking at lots of potential sites but nothing ever materialised.
“We did open a place in Worcester but that didn’t work out so we decided that – apart from the occasional festival and corporate catering we would stick with the truck.
“Obviously, after Covid, there have been a lot more units available and more opportunities for us to have a permanent restaurant opening.
“When we heard a unit at Great Western Arcade was available, we decided it was now or never.”
Alongside the new eatery, Carl and Ben will be reopening the truck offering up Cuban sandwiches.
He added: “It’s exciting to think after the last eighteen months, we have come out of lockdown in such a positive position with two businesses. At the start of the pandemic, I didn’t think we would survive.
“The furlough scheme helped massively and we have built up a loyal customer base over the years which I’m very grateful for. The messages of congratulations we’ve received since opening have been amazing. ”
Habereno closed for three months at the start of the Covid pandemic from March 2020-until May when the owners switched to doing deliveries, like many businesses forced to adapt through three lockdowns and Tier 3 restrictions.
As the UK bar and restaurant workers gear up to celebrate National Hospitality Day on September Saturday 18, Carl is optimistic that the city centre will bounce back.
He said: “I think the flexible working is going to be the future which means not all our customers will return to their office at the same time.
“But that never deterred me from opening here.
“I still think a good proportion of people are going to come into the centre – just not every day as previously. When they do come into the office, they are going to want to treat themselves to a lunch out. That will really boost city-centre businesses.”
The original version of this article was first published on Birmingham Live
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