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Restaurant owner thankful judge ruled that tacos and burritos are sandwiches

The Indiana restaurant owner was originally denied a permit as only sandwich restaurants were allowed in the location.
Woman holds taco.
Posted at 12:37 PM, May 21, 2024

A decision over whether a taco is considered a sandwich had major implications for a restaurant owner in Indiana.

When The Famous Taco wanted to open a second location in a shopping plaza, the Fort Wayne Plan Commission denied the application because the restaurant had to be sandwich bar-style, akin to a Subway.

The owner of The Famous Taco, Martin Quintana, sued the county's planning commission. After a yearslong battle, a Superior Court judge ruled that tacos and burritos are sandwiches, giving Quintana the green light.

"We were fighting, trying to open this store for over two years," Quintana said. "We couldn't get any luck until the judge came with that decision. We were very thankful with that decision."

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"The Court agrees with Quintana that tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches, and the original Written Commitment does not restrict potential restaurants to only American cuisine-style sandwiches," Judge Craig J. Bombay wrote. "The original Written Commitment would also permit a restaurant that serves made-to-order Greek gyros, Indian naan wraps, or Vietnamese banh mi if these restaurants complied with the other enumerated conditions."

Quintana said the restaurant has two items he considers similar to a sandwich. One is a torta, which involves putting ingredients inside two pieces of bread. He also thinks a quesadilla is close enough to being a sandwich.

"I don't know if the city is going to continue to appeal this decision," he said. "I think our next step is to try to get new blueprints so we can send it through the state and then the state to the city so then we can pull another permit so we can get open."

But for Quintana, the steak tacos are the go-to menu item.