2015-02-27 / Business Review


Manny Pena opened Taco Trio in South Portland in 2011, and since then, the restaurant has earned loyal and dedicated customers.

“People come two or three times a week, or daily,” Pena said.

Pena said he has tracked his customer volume over time and year to year, month to month, more people come through the door. On Feb. 1, the restaurant expanded its hours and started serving breakfast.

Pena, who grew up in Guanajato, Mexico, said serving breakfast is seamless because Mexicans eat what Americans consider breakfast, all day long.

“Mexicans eat eggs for dinner, just like for breakfast,” Pena said.

A basic breakfast burrito comes with beans, eggs and a choice of cheese. Customers can also add chorizo, steak, ham, bacon, potatoes or a popular combination in Mexico – tomatoes, onions and jalapeno peppers.

Pena said the authenticity of Mexican cuisine made from scratch has been the key to Taco Trio's success – and that's more than just tacos and burritos.

“Burritos are popular in the north part of Mexico, but tortas are popular throughout Mexico – north, south, east and west,” Pena said. A torta is a sandwich featuring eggs, refried beans and a variety of additional fillings. “I don't know why tortas are not catching up more in the northeast U.S. Mexicans eat tortas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ”

Before opening Taco Trio, Pena operated a food cart in Portland – where the name came from. Pena said he noticed people ordered food in sets of three.

“My wife came up with the name,” Pena said. “We were thinking of three tacos, three of this or three of that, or sometimes people order three different things. Three is the magic number when one is hungry.”

Taco Trio customers can now rely on traditional favorites, not only for lunch and dinner, but breakfast, too. Pena said he is also excited to announce that a second restaurant will be opened in Portland this spring, on outer Forest Avenue in the Riverton neighborhood.

Until then, Taco Trio, at 119 Ocean St., is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon. thru Fri. & 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat. & Sun. For more information, visit www.taco-trio.com.

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