Oct 19, 2018
BATAVIA — Bringing a little bit of Mexico to Batavia is what Jose Castaneda had in mind when he signed a lease to rent the former Kati’s Place location on Oak Street and began renovations for a new place to eat.
The result of that effort was the opening Thursday of Los Compadres Taqueria, which had a steady stream of customers, there either to eat in or take an order back to the office.
“I think we had probably 60 people come in already and we’ve been open for an hour and a half,” Castaneda said at around 12:30 p.m. Thursday while greeting those who came in and asking those who had just finished their meals and were on their way out how their experience was.
“We just had a big order from a factory in Batavia. They ordered for about 50 people,” he said.
Among those who came in was a woman who worked for the county Department of Social Services.
“I work in a department with a hundred people and everybody heard you were open,” she told Castaneda. “Do you have a menu? We’ll send some business here.”
The menus weren’t ready quite yet, he told her, but said he would text her the menu so she could share it.
Menus did arrive by the middle of the day Thursday and soon some of the customers were checking them out. They could also look above the counter at which orders were being taken.
Castaneda said he had been hoping to open Oct. 1, there was a delay.
“It didn’t happen because we had trouble getting our merchandise here. We buy from a company in New Jersey,” he said. “They had to figure out their logistics for Batavia.”
But delays aside, everything was in full swing Thursday. Well, almost everything. Los Compadres will offer more in about a month, Castaneda said.
“We’re going to have our own tortilla factory. That should be coming soon,” he said. “We will be making our own flour shells.”
When it’s ready, the factory will be in a room off of the dining room.
“We should be up and running in 30 days. Customers will be able to see it operate,” the Los Compadres owner said. He said the restaurant is working with the state to get its liquor license.
“We signed the lease in August. It took us that long to open,” Castaneda said. “We did the painting. We built our own booths. We did our salsa bar. We have all the authentic Mexican salsas, from mild to hot.”
The menu itself includes several kinds of tacos. It has tortas, quesadillas, carne asada fries, tamales, choriqueso, desserts and drinks.
Castaneda said he owns a few restaurants in New York state, including near Fort Drum, and locations in Binghamton, Liverpool, Buffalo and Lockport.
“We want to bring different food to every town we go into,” he said. “It’s always a challenge as a business owner. I felt if we don’t take a risk, we would never know. I was willing to take the risk here.”