They started as a taco cart in February of this year in Santa Ana serving pre-packaged meal preps, catering and of course tacos. Then with the help of Chef Sergio Ortega (formerly of Descanso, AnQi, Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel), Christopher Pham and Joey Sanchez started Chato's Bar and Grill. Who knew that a taco cart would eventually start serving upper casual Mexican cuisine in a brick and mortar on the corner of Broadway and 4th Street in Santa Ana.
Chato's Bar and Grill opened in late October of this year. Orange County restaurants were finally allowed to have dine in customers and they thought ok, we can do this. i was lucky enough to try their Sunday brunch which had delicious plates like upscale chilaquiles and a chorizo hash. Although, the two unexpected dishes that won me over were the fish tacos and the flan! The restaurant portions were hefty and the flavor profiles amazing.
However, only two weeks after opening, dine in was again restricted in Santa Ana. They had to rethink everything that was previously planned. They closed their lunch service during the week and opened only for patio dining in the evenings and at Sunday brunch. Now, all outdoor dining has again been banned and they have had to pivot yet again.
Starting this week, Chato's has gone back to its roots and is working off a taco cart located in front of their building! There is still no outdoor seating, but you can get some delicious street tacos to go. Chef Sergio Ortega and managing partner Chris Pham are working the cart with style. They will be serving $3 carne asada, chorizo, pollo tacos along with pork al pastor shaved right off the trompo! They will also be selling a gourmet street dog (bacon wrapped and served on a Hawaiian roll), loaded fries and sides like rice, beans and guacamole. I am told they will also have canned versions of their famous signature cocktails such as the Saigon Lychee, Margarita, Avalon, Santana and Mojito! Who doesn't love a grab and go lunch and a to go cocktail?
Chato's will be open from 12pm - 8pm Monday through Sunday. There is usually street parking and there are nearby parking structures.
Restaurants are having such a hard time. Please help support your local restaurants and businesses. Doesn't it make more sense to come to a place like Chato's for reasonably priced gourmet street food versus going to a chain restaurant?
Chato's Bar and Grill 400 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701