Chancho: New tortilla eatery opens in downtown Vancouver

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      Be prepared for a perspective change in terms of how tortillas should taste, because Vancouver’s newest Mexican spot makes them fresh on the premises daily.

      Chancho Tortilleria (1206 Seymour Street) has quietly opened its doors today, and those who love a good tortilla will be in for a treat.

      This eatery will specialize in fresh corn tortillas that are produced by its tortilla machine from Mexico. Its menu also features different cuts of pork carnitas (braised meats) paired with various toppings (think pickled red cabbage, black beans, limes, and salsa).  

      Co-owner Ernesto Gomez (Fayuca, Nuba, YVR Food Fest) told the Straight in an interview at Chancho that this idea has been on his mind for a long time.

      “Chancho has been in the incubator for years. It’s just been something that I kind of always wanted to do,” explained Gomez. “Last year, when we were in the process of doing Fayuca, there was a lot of frustration about tortillas because we couldn’t find good tortillas.”

      So he, alongside his other business partners Steven Luscher and Victor Bouzide, decided to open up a tortilla shop in the city to fill the void.

      Its white corn tortillas are made from an in-house tortilla machine.
      Tammy Kwan

      “Basically, we make fresh made tortillas,” said Gomez. “We have fun with them and we flavour some of them. And when things run out, they run out.”

      Its carnitas cuts will include maciza (shoulder/leg), panza (pork belly), and campechano (shoulder/leg belly), which can be ordered by the quarter, half, or full pound.

      Vegetarian dishes include a daily potato dish, daily veggie dish, and potatoes. Made-to-order guacamole and pinto bean soup are also on the menu.

      “The unique thing about Chancho is that we don’t like to cut corners. We do things like the way they should be done,” added Gomez. “[I] can’t say that our recipes will be the best on the planet, because these things are so subjective. But what I can tell you is that everything that is being made here uses the traditional Mexican techniques.”

      The 750-square-feet space was previously occupied by Nuba, which moved a few doors down. Guests will be welcomed into the 15-seat establishment by a hand-painted pineapple sitting on a pig head at the entrance—a small taste of the collection of creative paintings that are plastered throughout the restaurant’s walls.

      The pig with a pineapple can be depicted as Chancho's logo.
      Tammy Kwan

      “The inspiration for this is basically the way we do signs in Mexico, which is all hand-painted and kind of crooked in a way because you do it by hand,” explained Gomez. “They’re not machine made.”

      Besides eating in, customers can also order Chancho’s tortillas and carnitas for takeout. We don’t know about you, but ordering this kind of food to-go seems like a very promising foundation for a successful lunch or dinner party.

      “We want to make our version of carnitas the way we really like it. They are going to be melt in your mouth, lick your fingers delicious carnitas,” said Gomez. “People should be excited because I am.”

      If you’re wondering what Chancho means, it’s a word that represents “pig” in some parts of Mexico. It’s also an endearing term to call someone that is really funny, is a little stocky, but always has your back.

      Scroll through the photos below for a first look inside the new spot.

      Tammy Kwan


      Tammy Kwan


      Tammy Kwan


      Left to right: co-owners Ernesto Gomez and Steven Luscher.
      Tammy Kwan


      Tammy Kwan


      Tammy Kwan