Try spec-‘taco’-ler Mexican finds

A La Carte

June 20, 2021

Story By: Lianne Bidal Thompson | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

“Wet” Macho Burrito ($18.50)

Alejandro’s Mexican Food started as a stand in Waikiki. Keen to feed the club crowd, owner Alejandro Alvarado started his food biz at the now-shuttered Maddog Saloon. Soon, he was popping up at other clubs, and then settled on a corner in Waikiki, serving his street tacos to night owls who would close out the clubs at 3 a.m.

“I would set up at midnight and sell food till I sold out,” he states.

Soon, he found a brick-and-mortar in Kalihi Valley, expanding it to include a bar in January 2019. Once he had a restaurant, his menu grew to include more than just his beloved street tacos.

Nachos ($10)

“I started as a street taco guy,” Alvarado says. “I was a one-hit wonder. I just did carnitas and then I included ground beef because a lot of people didn’t eat pork. It was so simple. When I grew to have a restaurant, (I figured) I’ll do burritos and quesadillas.”

It seems the crowds can’t get enough. Now, Alejandro’s Mexican Food has established another site along Kapahulu Avenue. This Waikiki venue, which features a taco takeout window, indoor seating and a full bar, celebrates its one-year anniversary on July 1.

Taco Combo Plate ($13.50, comes with fountain drink or bottled water)

“We feel great about serving this community as well as a lot more tourists, compared to our Kalihi Valley location,” Alvarado explains.

He adds that the most popular meat option is the carne asada steak.

“But I believe the highlight of the menu is the carnitas,” he asserts.

“My personal favorite is a mixture of the two in a burrito and make it wet. The halfcarne asada, half-carnitas wet burrito combo will blow your mind!” he exclaims.

Katelynn Halterman with a Taco Combo Plate ($13.50) at the takeout window

Alvarado explains that any of the menu items: burritos, macho burritos (those feature a 12-inch flour tortilla with Mexican rice, pinto beans, onions, cilantro, salsa verde, cheese, sour cream and a choice of meat) with either carne asada or carnitas, rank at the top of the list for his customers.

Of course, the eatery still serves up some stellar street tacos. The Taco Combo Plate ($13.50) comes with three tacos, and includes a side of rice and beans and a drink.

Quesadilla ($9; add sour cream for 50 cents)

Other must-trys include the veggie offerings and a chicken option that’s available daily at the Kapahulu outpost, and on Thursdays in Kalihi Valley. The chicken preparation is a multi-step process he learned from his mom, and the layers of flavor shine through.

Soon, Alvarado will go international: He just inked a deal to open an Alejandro’s Mexican Food Tacos in Japan.

Alejandro’s Mexican Food’s Katelynn Halterman, Alejandro Alvarado, Seaanna Lippincott and Tatum Garrett

The Kapahulu location, complete with Tehrell Porter murals of Frida Kahlo and a bull and horse (it represents Alvarado and his business parter) emblazoned out front brings it full circle for the “street taco guy.” He’s back in Waikiki and jokes that some of the clubbers who used to stumble to his stand for a taco are now settled, bringing their families in for dinner.

“It’s a blessing, overall,” Alvarado says. “At the end of the day, I love what I do.”

949 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

2831 Kalihi St, Honolulu, HI 96819

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best