Benny’s Tacos to open second location in downtown Berthoud

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Benny’s Tacos has so much business in Longmont, customers started asking about a second location in Northern Colorado.

Restaurant owners Benny and Josie Payan of Longmont decided on Berthoud because it’s growing but also the building they found feels like home, said Payans’ daughter, Yahaira, manager of the Berthoud and Longmont restaurants.

“We absolutely fell in love with the way it looks,” Yahaira said. “It was meant to be a Benny’s Tacos. It made us feel like it’s home.”

Photo by Shelley Widhalm – Yahaira Payan, manager of Benny’s Tacos in Longmont and the new one opening this month in Berthoud, holds up her arms June 27 at the entrance to the new Berthoud location in downtown. The restaurant will open in mid- to late July.

The building at 535 Third St., the former location of the Whistle Stop Tavern, has the same exposed brick as the Longmont location but is more than twice the size at 3,200 square feet. The restaurant is scheduled to open sometime in mid- to late July once inspections are completed, and liquor will be served when the liquor license is approved.

“We’ve been looking to expand for awhile,” Yahaira said. “That one is really busy, but it’s a little small.”

The Longmont location, 347 Main St., spans 1,200 square feet and seats 32, while the Berthoud location seats 70 in booths and tables and at the bar. The interior of the Berthoud location had been left empty except for a couple of sinks, so the Payans had to bring in new furnishings and equipment. They kept the brick and repainted the rest of the interior using red to go with the color scheme of the Longmont location.

“I think it looks pretty cool as it is, the lights, the exposed brick, the tables along the wall,” Yahaira said. “It’s more of a mom and pop restaurant.”

The tables and other furnishings are primarily red and black, different from the Longmont location, which has mismatched tables and chairs, plus mismatched silverware. The Payans also will have mismatched silverware and the same white plates as the Longmont location.

The menu will be similar to Longmont’s with a few additions, because there is room for a fryer to make things like green chili fries. Popular items like street tacos and al pastor, which is homemade adobo with pineapple, will stay on the menu, along with an assortment of tacos, burritos and enchiladas and the taco salad, tamales and chili rellenos, all made from scratch. There is one dessert, a stuffed sopapilla with ice cream.

“We gave it more of a home-cooked style to it,” Yahaira said. “My mom cooks her food just like she would for us at home.”

Benny’s Tacos started 15 years ago as a food truck in Mead that sold burritos, not tacos, Yahaira said. The Payans closed it a year later due to family issues and worked in the agriculture and restaurant businesses before deciding in March 2016 to open a restaurant using the same name.

The Payans, originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, both worked for 23 years in the restaurant business, and Yahaira for six years. One of the restaurants they worked at was the Brick House BBQ in Mead, which has the same type of brick as their new Berthoud location, Yahaira said.

The Payans will hire a staff of 10—they have seven at the Longmont location.

“We’re very friendly,” Yahaira said. “Every time somebody comes to the restaurant, we welcome them with a hello.”

Benny’s Tacos will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Longmont location can be reached at 720-745-8161. The Berthoud location does not yet have a number.

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