Food Truck Profile: El Guapo Grill
El Guapo – Fresh Mexican Grill carries the proud title of being the first licensed and accepted food truck in the City of Detroit’s history. They’re taking “Fresh Mexican” to the streets and turning it upside down – fusing it with all varieties of international cuisine.
From pork belly confit to sweet potato burritos, El Guapo is bringing new tastes and a new attitude to the city of Detroit.
In July of 2011, El Guapo Grill opened its service window to customers in downtown Detroit. Granted, this wasn’t an easy task as it took them 60 visits to City Hall to get the operations permit.
The truck began operations in one location (Randolph and Monroe) but since then has expanded across the city as well as attending events throughout the metro Detroit area.
Original owners Anthony Curis and Doug Runyon parted ways (Runyon now works with a family-owned restaurant), but to fill the void left by Runyon, Curis partnered up with veteran chef Dan Gearig and his wife, Lindsay in February of 2012. New ownership team has installed a new menu but has only improved on the original menu items.
Gearig reworked every one of the menu elements. From the beans and salsas to the meats and toppings, he tweaked the recipes to elevate the flavors and make the food more distinctive.
“We’re not trying to be authentic. We’re just making great food that’s fun,” says Gearig, who believes Detroit wants the type of culinary creativity found in the LA, Austin and Portland mobile food scenes.
The El Guapo Grill food truck provides a fresh spin on Mexican cuisine, made with ingredients from Michigan based businesses.
The locally sourced ingredients and products are highlighted. Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, Faygo, Pink Elephant Cupcakes, Hacienda tortillas, salsa made in Southwest Detroit, and local produce whenever possible.
El Guapo offers an assortment of tacos and burritos to try whether if you are an omnivore or a vegetarian. Whether you are at their truck in the morning, noon or late night, they have a menu item for you. The tacos and burittos they offer allow you the opportunity to take a culinary world tour from one truck. They offer chicken, chorizo, braised beef, Korean, tofu, pork belly, as well as specialty styles which rotate.
The menu brings a wealth of complex flavors. They contain fresh ingredients, moist and tender meat, well marinated, textured condiments, and their own distinct flavors. A note to anyone looking for authentic Mexican cuisine, beware, they use flour tortillas rather corn (traditional).
Once you’ve had the chance to try out their menu, you will realize they do know what they’re doing.
El Guapo’s locations (times vary) include the Wayne State campus, Greektown, Midtown, Eastern Market and the Stadium District.
The ‘Aloha Mr. Hand’ taco (a play on the 80′s film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High). It’s a traditionally wrapped taco with a fantastic combination of flavors from pork belly confit topped with slaw and pineapple.
What their fans have said:
“Shortly after writing my first review I received an email from Lindsay G – one of the new owners of the El Guapo truck. She apologized that our first experience was less than stellar, she explained a few things about the business and then she graciously invited my husband and I to come back and have lunch on her. Wow…in my book that is great customer service. It def was not expected, but was very much appreciated!” Deb M. – Canton, MI