Famous Taco Burger brings Mexican, American cuisine to Central Street


Jacob Wendler/Daily Senior Staffer

The menu at Famous Taco Burger features tacos, burgers, burritos, fajitas and fries.

Jacob Wendler, Copy Editor

When Juan and Javier Magdaleno decided to open their own restaurant, they wanted to combine their family recipes with American cuisine.

That idea inspired them to eventually launch Famous Taco Burger on Central Street in March. Since opening the restaurant, the Magdalenos have continued to work part-time at Trattoria Demi and Edzo’s Burger Shop in downtown while also running their own establishment.

The menu features Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos and fajitas, in addition to burgers and fries. Customers have the options of filling their tacos with chicken, pork, steak or beef; switching out buns or toppings on burgers and trying a variety of fries — including “Mexican Fries” that feature taco toppings.

For the Magdaleno brothers, Famous Taco Burger has been a long time coming. They’ve worked in the Evanston restaurant scene for about 20 years as cooks. But when some local restaurants closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Magdalenos saw the opportunity to open their own shop.

The storefront, which formerly housed Gotta B Crepes, is expansive. It includes seating for customers and an open kitchen that allows visitors to see their meals in the making.

Despite the Magdalenos’ cooking experience, Juan Magdaleno said the path to the grand opening was an uphill battle that required them to navigate renovations, inspections and marketing.

“This was the first time we opened a restaurant, so we didn’t know what the building needed to be ready,” he said.

But the community stepped in to help.

Juan Magdaleno said fellow Central Street businesses publicized the shop and welcomed them to the area. 

“​​The people have supported us a lot here on Central,” he said. “The neighborhood is really nice. They helped us a lot the first couple of weeks.”

Nina Harvel, who works on Central Street, said she’s already a loyal customer. She said she has been to Famous Taco Burger about 10 times since it opened.

She said the brothers’ shop is bringing something new to the west end of Central Street with their blend of Mexican and American food options. 

“They have really good food, really kind and friendly people,” she said. “It’s the family business that Central Street really needed on this side (where) we don’t have as many restaurants and shops to go to, whereas the other side of Central Street’s much busier.”

Harvel also said she has found the tacos, which she has ordered multiple times, “absolutely delicious.”

Angela Shaffer, community director for Central Street Evanston also said the restaurant is a welcome addition to the district.

“The west end of Central Street is so excited to have a new restaurant,” she said. “It’s a big positive for the community.”

In addition to its location, Famous Taco Burger’s affordability is a drawing point for some customers at a time when inflation and the rising cost of ingredients are hitting local businesses hard.

Some customers, like Janis Pozzi-Johnson, said the prices drew them to the restaurant. Tacos, for example, range from $3 to less than $4 each.

“The neighborhood can only benefit from this place flourishing,” Pozzi-Johnson said. “I think it’s gonna be great for families — and the food was very tasteful.”

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