A Mexican family restaurant opened in August on Carpenter near Packard, in a newly refurbished stand-alone building once home to a Pizza Hut. El Tapatio Taqueria y Restaurante has a full menu of lunch and dinner favorites for takeout or third-party delivery, though most customers dine in, where a central bar serves up daiquiris, margaritas, and other potables.
Its name refers informally to people from the state of Jalisco’s capital, Guadalajara, including Claudia Salinas. She and her husband, Juan Manuel Salinas—who hails from Oaxaca, further down Mexico’s Pacific coast—are the hands-on owners. Fortunately, they live just five minutes away in Pittsfield Township with their son and daughter, ages six and three.
A key partner is her uncle, Leopoldo Cobian, who also owns Mi Zarape in Saline. They’d been longtime employees of his there and were up for a challenge of their own.
When El Tapatio finally opened after months of construction and permitting delays, Claudia says it quickly found traction with eight varieties of street tacos—they proved so popular, she says, that they half-jokingly discussed abandoning the rest of the menu. Since then, customers have also discovered full dinner plates, including entrées such as the Burrito Tapatio and the Molcajete that feature multiple proteins in combination.
The couple plans to open up the front patio for full service as summer approaches.
El Tapatio Taqueria y Restaurante, 3045 Carpenter Rd. (734) 369–2606. Mon.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. facebook.com/ElTapatioTaqueria22