Taqueria Los Chilangos was founded by Oscar Mendez and his family. Oscar’s father went from having a small stand to owning a business. With the little money that they earned, they were able to buy what is known as a tamales tricycle to be able to transport the food they made.
Oscar saw the struggles that his parents went through every day in life, from waking up early in the morning to having to stand outside on cold rainy days. As Oscar grew older, his mind was set on one day owning his own business thanks to his parents and their everyday struggles.
Learning to cook tamales with his father is what drove Oscar to pursue a career in the restaurant industry. It wasn’t an easy journey, but Oscar’s tenacity and passion for food meant that there was nothing that could keep him from his dreams.
Being the youngest of four boys, Oscar eventually reached the age where he wanted to make a good life for himself. He emigrated as a young 18-year-old to America to pursue “the American dream.”
It was not an easy transition for him, but that did not stop him from reaching his goal. Oscar started working as a dishwasher for some of the best restaurants on the Eastside, where he expanded his cooking knowledge. He would finish washing dishes early so he could help the prep cooks and chefs and learn something new every day.
This was especially challenging since he hadn’t learned English yet. He knew that if he wanted to make a better life for himself, he had to enroll in school. Taking small steps is what helped him eventually go from being a dishwasher to a lead cook.
After working in several restaurants and different jobs, Oscar learned to provide customers with quality food and exceptional service by drawing from his Mexican roots. Oscar realized that he wanted to be his own boss, so he started his own business by selling at farmers markets. At first it was a struggle: He would go every weekend with his daughter and ask the managers if they would allow him to sell, but was rejected again and again.
Eventually the person in charge of the market saw how persistent he was and gave him an opportunity. Oscar knew that he wanted to be different from the other vendors, so he built his own trompo al pastor from scratch and brought it along with his stand. Since he was the first one to use a trompo at the farmers markets, he had to work with the King County Health Department to make sure he met all the requirements and could sell his famous al pastor meat.
Oscar was moving up little by little. He went from permanently selling at farmers markets to selling at festivals on Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, or any celebration that was hosted by one of the popular radio stations.
As things started looking up, the 2008 financial crisis shocked the country. Thankfully, Oscar was quick on his feet and knew that he needed to find the next opportunity.
He started catering events and selling authentic Mexican street tacos outside of nightclubs. He would bring his stand and wait for people to come and buy his tasteful tacos al pastor.
Everything was going great until Oscar was shut down one day due to a lack of business knowledge — he wasn’t supposed to be selling food from a food stand, and would need a food truck. That was the push Oscar needed to grow his business.
He used what money he had and borrowed more to buy a rundown food truck, which he painstakingly repaired himself. He still faced financial issues early on, but that was not going to stop him from bringing wonderful, authentic Mexican food to the American market.
While Oscar chased his dream and continued building his business from scratch, his wife was working as a banker. Out of nowhere, Oscar’s wife lost her job. Instead of pushing Oscar to find stable work, his wife decided that it was time for both of them to go all in on the business.
It turned out that his wife’s business-focused mind was the perfect ingredient to add to Oscar’s cooking knowledge to create a recipe for success. They both set their minds to learning how to make the business grow.
Now Oscar’s food truck, Taqueria Los Chilangos, is a well-known purveyor of exquisite, authentic Mexican street food. His unique taste and recipes passed down to him by his family mean that people keep coming back for more. He brings love and all five of his senses into every dish to make sure his customers are receiving the best of the best.
Los Chilangos started as a dream from a humble young boy who proved that with devotion to a craft and the support of your family, any dream can be reality.
Our goal here at Los Chilangos is simple; we strive to serve our customers real Mexico City style street food that is consistently delicious and always affordable.
We do this by utilizing our years of experience using traditional methods to prepare our ingredients and take pride in the preparation of every meal we serve. Our food is greatly influenced by our Mother's recipes, and believe us, we wouldn't want to let her down.