New taco truck brings the sizzle to Dinkytown

Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill looks to add some new flavor to the Dinkytown restaurant scene.

Co-owners Roberto Quiros, left, and Jesus Hernandez pose for a portrait in their new food truck, Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill, on Monday, Dec. 7. “We make all the ingredients fresh every day,” said Hernandez.

Emalyn Muzzy, Arts and Entertainment Reporter

On the corner of 10th Avenue and Fourth Street, outside the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, a Mexican food truck sits. The chef and the manager chat away in Spanish while grilling up fajitas and making the cold outside air smell of cumin and warm corn tortillas. Students walk up, pondering which taco they want and if they really need a churro.

The Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill opened up on Nov. 27, serving University of Minnesota students and Minneapolis residents delicious tacos, burritos and burgers.

Jose Hernandez, owner of Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill, had plans to open the food truck and model it after his Stillwater coffee shop, Mex! Café, but the pandemic forced him to temporarily shut down the restaurant, speeding up the food truck process.

Hernandez is a maintenance worker for the Sigma Phi Epsilon frat house, so the fraternity lets him park his truck in its parking lot.

Manager David Mendez Morales said that the timing of the grand opening couldn’t have been better. Within two months, the permits were approved, the staff came together flawlessly, Mex! Café closed so the grill was able to use supplies from the restaurant and Sigma Phi Epsilon agreed to let the truck park on its property.

Morales said that while running any restaurant is tough during the pandemic, the food truck offers flexibility. “I look for the positive. Right now a food truck is perfect for anyone,” he said.

Chef Roberto Quiros said he made sure to keep the food authentically Mexican while also considering his consumer base. Putting a Mexican spin on an American classic, he created Quiro’s Burger, which features Chihuahua cheese in the burger, caramelized onions and a special chipotle mayo.

The trailer has been busier than a typical sit-down restaurant, mainly because it has only to-go food, Hernandez said. Students in the surrounding area have curiously come out to try the new food.

 New food truck Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill’s chef Roberto Quiros prepares an order of carnitas tacos on Monday, Dec. 7. (Audrey Rauth)

Fourth-year student Sonia Olson walked to the truck to eat with her roommates on Tuesday night. “I like that it’s accessible and has good COVID practices,” she said.

Morales and Quiros make sure to always have their Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill face masks on, wear gloves when touching food, wash their hands frequently and keep the truck clean throughout the day to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Since the truck is still new, they are only accepting cash but will soon be taking credits cards. They encourage people to order ahead if they want to park in the Sigma Phi Epsilon parking lot or walk to the restaurant.

Although running a restaurant amid a pandemic isn’t easy, Hernandez wouldn’t change what he’s doing. “This is my dream for all of my life. It’s very difficult but when you have a dream, you have to work for it,” he said.

Sizzlin’ Mexican Grill is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday. You can call ahead at 612-232-6362 and can find the menu on the grill’s Instagram or Facebook.