Order ChowNow

Our Story

Bandido’s Mexican Cafe Story


Over 28 years ago, restaurateur Antoni Sustaita opened Bandido’s Mexican Café on East Franklin Street in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill located conveniently to the UNC campus. Bandido’s has become a staple for a blend of classic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex dishes. Bandido’s has been touted as best flavor, freshness, and quality of food for years and is home of the best chips and homemade salsa around coupled with our infamous margaritas and signature cocktails.

We are honored that our customers have recognized us by voting us as the Best Mexican Restaurant, Best Salsa, and Best Service throughout the years in Chapel Hill’s “Best Of” Magazine publications.

Once you step through our door on 159 ½ E. Franklin Street, you will see that we are proud of our deep-rooted heritage as a staple for so many of our loyal customers and college students over the years. Our kitschy décor remains largely untouched from where we started, however we are proud that our aesthetics remain one that our customers truly enjoy as fun-filled, memorable from days gone by, however perfectly matched for creating new memories with friends and family today.

Maybe best known for our fun, legendary El Gigante burrito challenge, please come hungry enough to try and conquer the almost 5-pound mammoth sized burrito in less than 60 minutes and take home a fun tee shirt that reads, “I conquered The El Gigante!” Proud owners, Antoni and his son Tony say that less than a third of their customers take home the tee and the bragging rights of conquering the El Gigante challenge!

Our family business proudly serves the Chapel Hill area with its location on East Franklin Street as well as proud recipient of the “Taste of the Hill” program honoring local favorites to serve in several locations throughout the UNC campus. We offer take out services, ChowNow delivery, and catering services tailored for any event.

Over the years Bandido’s has become a local favorite and has garnered many awards and distinctions including:


award iconChapel Hill News – Rose Award – Best Restaurant for Mexican Food
award iconNews of Orange County – 9 time Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mexican Food
award iconHerald Sun  Readers’ Choice Best Mexican Restaurant
award iconThe Daily Tar Heel – BEST TACO AWARD – TACOPALOOZA Food Truck Rodeo
award iconThe Daily Tar Heel –  Carolina’s Finest – Best Hole in the Wall Restaurant, also Best Authentic Food
award iconOrange County Chamber of Commerce WINNER – BEST SALSA – 2 TIME WINNER
award iconBEST of the Triangle – Reader’s Choice Award – Best Mexican

Cafe Hours

5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM