Roy and Heather Riedl, the husband and wife team behind Mercado Foods, a tapas food truck and catering service, are expanding their business and opening El Pollo Guapo in Wethersfield, CT.
El Pollo Guapo, opening in mid April, will be primarily take-out and delivery based and will focus on rotisserie chicken. The menu will include whole, half and quarter birds, and a variety of sides, as well as appetizers, salads, grain bowls and sandwiches.
The couple opened Mercado Foods as a catering business in 2014, adding a trailer to the mix in 2015 when they began to sell their food at farmers markets. In 2016, they expanded and renovated a full sized food truck that functioned both as their catering kitchen and a marketing vehicle to take to events. El Pollo Guapo will be their first restaurant venture.
According to Roy, the two have "always known we wanted to do something beyond the truck. We look at Mercado now as an idea more than anything else. It's a test kitchen really. The truck has allowed us to test out different recipes and ideas, knowing that one of them would eventually turn into a concept."
Heather said the idea for El Pollo Guapo stemmed off the thought of "why can't fast food be good?" As a working parent who is always looking for an efficient way to feed her children, she said "I would love nothing more than to go to a drive through and get something that is healthy for my kids and quick. But I don't think there is really anything available."
While they believe Mercado to be a little more niche, they want El Pollo Guapo to be accessible and affordable to everyone. A diner will be able to have a meal there for $10-14. They'll be open six days a week to start and plan to move to seven days as well as offering late night hours soon after. They are hoping to have a few seats, although it may end up being standing room only. Roy emphasizes, "It's not going to be a sit down restaurant. It's just like Mercado in that it's good food served quickly. We will however have some places you can stand and eat your sandwich or rotisserie. And we do have hopes in the future of opening up other locations that will be full service."
Two former catering clients of theirs, Matt and Heather LeBlanc, partnered with them on the new venture. As did Roy's parents and their brother and sister-in-law. John Bartlett, who currently works on the Mercado Food Truck will be the Kitchen/Production Manager, and Tony Evans will be the General Manager.
Heather and Roy will be revealing more information, such as the exact address and menu items on their social media as the opening day gets closer. You can follow along on their journey as they renovate and open the space on their Instagram and Facebook pages.