Mexican restaurant Gordito Amigos opens on Telegraph Avenue

Maya Valluru/Staff

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Gordito Amigos, a new Mexican restaurant, opened on Telegraph Avenue two weeks ago, replacing Gordo Taqueria, which closed in September. 

The restaurant, located at 2404 Telegraph Ave., has yet to host its grand opening but has been open to customers since the first week of October. Executive chef James Liu said he is experimenting with the complete menu for the newly opened restaurant, but wants to accent classic Mexican cuisine with a “California flair.”

Liu is a member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international society that recognizes distinguished chefs. The society’s emblem hangs on the restaurant’s entry wall. Liu has more than 30 years of experience as a chef at renowned venues, including as an executive chef at the Hilton San Francisco and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

Liu said he wants to use his culinary expertise to serve the UC Berkeley community. Now, he’s excited to bring a fresh take to Mexican cuisine. 

“I always had a passion to do Mexican food,” Liu said. “I saw that Gordo’s was selling, and this is what I wanted. I wanted to use my culinary expertise to serve the UC Berkeley students and neighborhood.”

Liu’s son is helping out in the front for now. Liu added that once everything is ready, the restaurant will host its grand opening, which he estimates will happen in about a month. Meanwhile, he has been in the process of refining the menu, staff and overall customer experience.

“I don’t want to rush myself because I want everything to be well-prepared,” Liu said. 

Liu has been offering special add-ins aside from those offered in the regular menu to receive feedback from customers and to ultimately get a better idea for the finalized, complete menu.

Examples of these special items that are off the menu include cilantro avocado sauce and chicken fajitas burritos. He stressed how it is important to the establishment to use fresh, quality ingredients that are budget-friendly.

Campus junior Jason Chen said he was disappointed that Gordo’s closed, but added that he sometimes goes to Gordito Amigos. Campus junior Jessele Perez said the food was good and that the “red onions with radish” was something she had never seen at Mexican restaurants before.

Liu said that he is the “fat chubby guy, a good friend,” and that the restaurant’s name refers to himself. He wants customers to feel that they have a “good amigo,” and have the chance to get some “happy burritos.”

Contact Sarah Chung at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sarahchungdc.