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Muy Bien

Bien Mexican Taqueria & Agave Cantina Keeps the Flavor Flowing

Writer / Julie Yates
Photographer / Whitney Moore

The recent opening of Bien Mexicana Taqueria & Agave Cantina in Cicero proves there is a silver lining in every cloud. The business first appeared amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a food truck. Now, three years later, it has become a brick-and-mortar eatery inhabiting the space formerly occupied by a long-standing coffee shop. New and old customers are flocking to the South Peru Street site, and all are raving about the delicious and fresh food.Bien Mexican Taqueria & Agave Cantina

Angela Garcia, who initiated Bien Mexicana as a food truck, partnered with local businessman Brett Morrow to open the restaurant. Longtime friends, the two had been talking about a collaboration when the closing of Cicero Coffee Company made the space available. After a decor refresh, which included the installation of an Instagram-friendly photo wall, Garcia’s dream of becoming a restaurateur became a reality.

“I have always cooked,” Garcia says. “I started baking when I was 11 or so, and began to make Mexican food when I was a teenager, making tamales with my great-grandmother and great-aunts. Owning a food truck or restaurant was something I had wanted to do.”

“When COVID hit, I had a recruiting business but it came to a stop,” Garcia continues. “I needed a way to bring in income, so I put up a post on my neighborhood Facebook page that I was selling tamales, chips and salsa. Right away I got over 30 orders and I started cooking. Word got out, and the next week cars were lined up down the block to pick up their food.”

Bien Mexican Taqueria & Agave CantinaSoon after, Garcia purchased a cargo trailer, and with the help of her brother, converted it into a food truck. After getting it approved by the health department, she rented space at the commercial kitchen of the Noblesville American Legion and later at the VFW. Four or five days a week, she was out traveling to different events and locations. Some days, between cooking and driving, the only sleep she got was a two-hour nap.

“I loved the food truck but it was rough,” she says. “It truly was a mobile restaurant but there was so much loading and unloading. Owning a restaurant is still a lot of hard work but it’s nice to stay in the same place.”

The food and drinks make visitors so devoted to Bien Mexicana. Everything is made on-site from recipes Garcia developed herself. One popular dish is the Birria Tacos, with shredded beef served on yellow corn tortillas, and with a side of savory consommé for dipping. Garcia says the demand for the tamales is huge, and she makes her own masa, or corn flour dough, that surrounds the fillings.

In addition to the many other tacos, tortas (sandwiches), salads, quesadillas and nachos on the menu, Bien Mexicana has a full liquor license. Margaritas are made to order with simple syrup made by Garcia. Besides cocktails, several different varieties of beer are available. Don’t miss out on Horchata, a beverage made from rice, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

“My biggest surprise so far is not in how busy we are, but in how happy the employees are that work here,” Garcia says. “I didn’t anticipate how much we would love each other and how close we would become. My own kids didn’t enjoy the food truck but they like working here. There is never going to be just the perfect time to start a food truck or a restaurant. I love seeing all the people that come here and enjoy our food. Many are familiar faces that have been there for us since day one of the food truck.”

Bien Mexicana Taqueria & Agave Cantina is located at 150 South Peru Street in Cicero. Give them a call at 317-420-0062, andBien Mexican Taqueria & Agave Cantina view the menu at bienmexicana.com. Also visit them on Facebook and Instagram.

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