In the 80s, South Orange was without a Mexican restaurant leaving the door open for Ignacio Guzman to seize an opportunity.
Toro Loco is a family owned Mexican restaurant located at 23 Valley Street in South Orange.
Teresa Guzman, the owner of Toro Loco said,“30 years ago, the market was void of Mexican Food, and that void needed to be filled. My brother, Ignacio, recognized the need. He was the one with the initial idea and drive to open a Mexican restaurant. Ignacio asked me if I wanted to have my own restaurant, and that is how Toro Loco came to be.”
The family run business was established in 1988. Many workers have been with the restaurant since it opened. Its menu is a mix of family recipes and original ideas.
“Ignacio created the menu, some are based on our mother’s recipes and others were his own creations, of what he thought the consumer would want to eat,” Guzmansaid.
Toro Loco tries to give back to the community by participating in local fundraisers, hosting various community events and supplying food for their attendees.
“When we first joined the South Orange community, we faced some adversity because the community had not dealt with Mexicans or Mexican food before,” Guzman added, “It was something new, and as you know, with new or foreign things, people tend to be frightened because they don’t know what to expect. Due to our involvement in the community, we have enriched our own lives and those of others.”
The restaurant is a hot spot for Seton Hall University students because of its food and inviting atmosphere.
“I like that Toro Loco is so close to campus,” Allison Kroeger, a freshman economics major, said.
Popular items from the restaurant are its empanada appetizers, sizzling fajitas and mole poblano, a traditional chocolate-based sauce that pairs with enchiladas and grilled chicken. Guzman estimated that about 80 percent of customers are students that keep coming back for more. Toro Loco’s busiest day is Cinco de Mayo. On that day, reservations are nearly impossible to book and the restaurant needs security to control the influx of customers.
Popular times for SHU students are dinner, happy hour and Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Toro Loco is a pretty chill place when you’re looking for a different flavor than usual,” Kyle Adams, a junior Political Science major, said.
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.