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Mexican restaurant fills need in downtown Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 July 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Miguel Jimenez stands outside El Gallo, which he opened last month in downtown Albion.

ALBION – Miguel Jimenez opened El Gallo, a Mexican restaurant, in downtown Albion last month during the Strawberry Festival.

He spent four months with the help of friends and family renovating a downtown building that had been closed for most of the past two decades. He gutted the building, put in a new kitchen, floors and many utilities.

He painted the outside of the building, put on new signs and an awning.

“It was a lot of hard work to get it open,” Jimenez said today at 33 North Main St. “The town has been very supportive. Albion has a very family-friendly environment.”

The building at 33 North Main St. had been vacant for about two decades. Here is how it looked in April before being transformed into a Mexican restaurant.

Jimenez, a Lockport resident, said people are happy to have a restaurant in the downtown. El Gallo is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Jimenez, 25, runs the business with two employees and some help from his family. He was teaching special education in the Buffalo City School District. He was laid off in budget cuts and decided to open his own business.

After scouting several sites, he picked Albion. He noticed there wasn’t a sit-down restaurant in the downtown. He also thought Albion had a good population size to support the business. He expected migrant farmworkers to be the base for the business, but so far other residents have been the main clientele.

Miguel Jimenez prepares a meal in the kitchen at El Gallo. He put in new kitchen equipment and did other extensive renovations at the site.

He also has plans for a food truck and would like to take that to some of the workers at farms, as well as at other community events.

Right now he is focused on getting the business off to a good start. He said El Gallo serves generous helpings of fresh food in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tostados, huaraches and sopes. The restaurant offers seven types of meat.

“We’re starting with a smaller staff and menu and we will grow,” Jimenez said. “Eventually I want to expand to other locations but my first vision is to be in the downtown.”

For more on El Gallo, click here.