Why you should go: I love this place - it's a taquería de verdad, a real one, with Juan Gabriel or Los Tigres del Norte on the sound system, autographed pics of Mexican soccer players on the walls, tacos with grilled meat, tripe or tongue, icy Tecate in the fridge, tortillas made by hand and your choice of seating - the steamy lunch counter or a breezy little back patio.
It's a long way from Guadalajara to Park Street.
Trejón: I'm from Mexico City, really. I came crossing the rivers and hills. I heard Madison was a good place to live and work. I know a lot about Mexican food, but I wanted to start slow. When I got here in 2000 I went to Pedro's Restaurant hoping to be a dishwasher. But I was lucky - I got into the kitchen and started helping. Later I worked at Bagels Forever for four years, and at Mercado Marimar for a while.
But right from the start I wasn't making enough money to pay the rent. I'd been a cook in Mexico, and I always cooked at home. I learned to cook on my own - it just came to me, like magic. I knew I was good, and that cooking was the best thing to do, so I started making tamales at home to sell to my neighbors. That was a real success. Everybody loved my food. They started asking for other homemade dishes. So I was able to make enough to live on that way.
I met Pancho [Francisco] when we were both working at Marimar, and one day he said, "let's open a restaurant." I didn't think twice. I knew it would be great - we both know our Mexican food. It took a while to find the right place, but this is perfect for us - it's little, it's family-style, and everyone passes by our door.
Vásquez: My sisters had taquerías in Jalisco, near the city of Guadalajara, so I've been working in them since I was very little. I had my own place in Jalisco, and later I opened two taquerías in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, right on the border. I came to Madison in '99, to visit my sister who lives here. I still had my taquerías in Mexico, but I really liked Madison and decided to stay.
Vásquez: Our food comes from all over Mexico, but my specialty's the platillo Guadalajara. We ate that a lot at home when I was growing up. It's grilled beef, fried onions, nopal salad, refried beans with cheese and pico de gallo - very typical.
Any surprises since you opened shop?
Trejón: I thought we'd have all Mexican customers, since they know us - I'm surprised by how many Americans come in and come back!
Vásquez: I'm surprised when people think we're a couple - Josefina and I aren't married, we're just business associates. But I knew we'd do really well together in business - we know a lot of people in town, and everybody loves our food. We've been able to do all of this ourselves, without loans. We're not in debt.