El Vaquero gets new location; Restaurant taking over Pizza Hut site

JOSE' GARCIA (left) and Ernesto Garcia, owners of El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant, take a break from installing equipment in the kitchen at their new restaurant location in central Madison to talk about their move. The Garcias are moving their restaurant about five blocks west from its previous location to the former Pizza Hut site and plan to reopen on July 15.

Ernesto and Jose' Garcia were busy on Thursday afternoon, working among the crew that was installing kitchen equipment in the building where they plan to open a relocated El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant in Madison.

The Garcias are moving El Vaquero about five blocks west of the restaurant's original spot, which was near the intersection of Washington Ave. and N. 2nd St. Workers had already set up tables, seats and booths in the dining area at their new building located at 222 N.W. 2nd St.

They decided to move into the former Pizza Hut restaurant building about two months ago, wanting to take advantage of a spot in Madison that has a more-prominent location along SD-34. The Garcias are planning to open El Vaquero at its new address on July 15.

Among the benefits of the move, the building offers more indoor seating for their diners. Ernesto Garcia judged that the new restaurant would offer seating for about 80 to 85 customers. He added that diners would probably also appreciate a larger area for customer parking.

Another benefit for the restaurant owners and staff centers on more vehicle space on the lot, so delivery trucks and their drivers have an easier time unloading food and other restaurant supplies.

The previous location for El Vaquero required the restaurant to share parking space with a nearby convenience store, and a gravel alley provided an unloading area for trucks. Ernesto recalled that one delivery truck came perilously close to dropping into Park Creek, a waterway that runs along the north side of the alley.

The Garcias said the menu should remain mostly the same as before, as it was organized when they started operating El Vaquero during late 2018. At the time, they had taken over management responsibilities from their uncle, Rigoberto Aguierre.

"But we're looking at some little changes," Jose' Garcia said about the El Vaquero menu.

Ernesto Garcia said the restaurant has recently offered a new steak with white queso (cheese) sauce dish and a new arandas burrito meal to serve to its customers. He added that the kitchen can also prepare a "create your own meal" dish in which customers choose their meals from selections of burritos, enchiladas, tacos and tamales.

The brothers pointed out -- among the meals listed in their current menu -- several dishes that are popular among El Vaquero diners. The restaurant's pollo San Jose dish consists of grilled chicken breast topped with grilled shrimp, mushrooms and a queso sauce. El Vaquero's pollo fundido meal is created from chicken strips sauteed with onions and covered with queso cheese sauce.

The customers also enjoy El Vaquero's burrito loco, in which the cooks stuff a 10-inch tortilla with ingredients that include steak, chorizo, pineapple, shrimp and grilled jalapenos.

The Mexican restaurant also possesses an alcohol license to serve drinks with its food.

The beer list at El Vaquero offers a roster of imported brands that include Pacifico, Tecate, Modelo, Corona and Dos Equis. The restaurant also keeps in its cooler domestic brands brewed by Budweiser, Miller and Coors. The drink menu offers wine and mixed drinks that include margaritas, bloody marys, mojitos and micheladas, a spicy beer and tomato juice drink.

The El Vaquero restaurant has kept its previous phone number, 427-0084, for customers to contact the Mexican food eatery.