Tony is from San Antonio, Texas. As a teenager he relocated with his mother and three brothers to Atlanta where his mom opened the family’s Mexican restaurant in a little town outside of Atlanta. Together with his mom Tony learned the restaurant business from the ground up – cooking, cleaning, waiting tables, putting out fliers…. He joined the family business after college by opening his own Mexican restaurant with his wife Maria. In 1994 Tony & Maria came to the Triangle area on vacation to visit a college friend of Tony’s. Both he and his wife fell in love with the area – went back to Atlanta, sold their home and restaurant and moved to Chapel Hill within 45 days of their inital visit. Six months later – the original Bandido’s Mexican Cafe was opened in the basement of a building on East Franklin street. Today there are four locations of Bandido’s. Click here to see all the locations.
Over the years Bandido’s has become a local favorite and has garnered many awards and distinctions including:
Best Mexican Food – News of Orange County Reader’s Choice Award 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011
First Place Salsa – Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce Chili & salsa Cookoff 2008, 2010
Best Restaurant for Mexican Food – Rose Award Chapel Hill News 2008 Best Salsa – Bull City Chili Challenge 2005 & 2008
Best Mexican Restaurant – The Herald Sun Reader’s Choice Awards 2006