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Salem Eats: Unwrapping the Flavor Revolution at Azul’s Taco House

Written by Wyatt Jones on Mar. 15th, 2024
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Azul’s Taco House, situated at 231 Court St. NE #150 in Salem, Oregon, has quickly become a staple in the local food scene, offering a unique blend of traditional flavors and modern culinary techniques. Founders Tino Land and Jay Razo, who transitioned from working in a grocery store’s produce section to pioneering their own restaurant, have infused their establishment with the spirit of innovation and a deep respect for culinary heritage.

Their journey began with a shared passion for cooking and the encouragement of their close-knit families and friends, leading them to venture into the competitive food industry. “The leap from grocery store produce workers to restaurant owners was fueled by our shared love for cooking and the unwavering support from our families and friends. It’s been an adventurous journey, but the support made it smoother than expected,” Tino Land recalls.

The initial step into the food business was through a food truck, affectionately named “Big Blue,” which not only laid the groundwork for their culinary venture but also helped shape their vision for the future. After operating three successful food trucks, Land and Razo decided to establish a brick-and-mortar location. “The transition from food trucks to a permanent restaurant was a natural progression for us. It allowed us to expand our menu and share our culinary creations with a wider audience,” Jay Razo explains.

The name Azul’s Taco House is a nod to their beginnings and reflects the Latin-inspired menu that has become their signature. The founders describe their menu as “our heritage with a twist,” utilizing family recipes as the foundation for their innovative dishes, which they regard as ‘taco art.’

Their culinary journey was further inspired by an unexpected visit from the creator of Hot Cheetos, who offered words of encouragement. “His visit was a reminder that with passion and hard work, anything in the culinary world is possible. It was an inspiring moment that fueled our determination,” Jay Razo shares.

Another memorable quote from a regular customer, Maria Gonzalez, captures the essence of Azul’s Taco House: “Eating here feels like a journey through flavors that I’ve never experienced before. It’s not just about eating; it’s about discovering.”

The success of Azul’s Taco House can also be attributed to its dedicated team, whose loyalty and dedication have been instrumental in the restaurant’s achievements. “Our team’s unwavering commitment to excellence is what allows us to consistently deliver exceptional dishes to our guests,” emphasizes Tino Land.

Looking to the future, Land and Razo are ready to face new challenges and opportunities with optimism. Their diverse menu, featuring over 30 unique taco styles, invites guests to explore the rich tapestry of flavors and stories behind each dish. “Every item on our menu is a signature dish, offering a glimpse into the diversity and richness of our culinary heritage,” Razo adds.

Azul’s Taco House stands as a testament to the founders’ entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to culinary innovation. It serves as a vibrant reminder of how passion, creativity, and community support can transform a simple idea into a thriving culinary destination.

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