PHOENIX — Chino Bandido, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Phoenix that fuses Mexican, Chinese, Cuban, and Jamaican cuisine -- and has become a regular feature on Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" -- is relocating its original restaurant.
But, longtime fans need not worry, the restaurant is not moving far away. It's actually moving less than two miles up the road to Bell Road and Third Avenue near WinCo Foods.
Owner Eve Collins, who opened the restaurant with her late husband, Frank Collins, in 1990 near 19th Avenue and Greenway Road, told ABC15 that relocating the restaurant
allows her to build a larger, more efficient kitchen for her staff and an upgraded dining room for customers.
"Each year that we opened, we had to kick another wall out," she said.
"So everything is disorganized in the kitchen. I’m hoping, my largest excitement actually, is I’m hoping that I can make it easier for my staff to work and not have to carry things from one spot to the next," she said.
The new restaurant will have more of an industrial vibe with concrete floors, as well as Pancho, the restaurant's iconic 7500-pound black granite bear. It will also have a small outdoor patio with enough seating for 20-30 people, something the current location does not have.
"It’s more organized and cleaner. It’s going to be a little bit of an upgrade from the absolute hole in the wall, but it's still a hole in the wall," she said.
As long as construction stays on track, the new restaurant could open as early as June. The original location will remain open until then.
What's on the menu?
Chino Bandido combines Mexican, Chinese, Cuban, and Jamaican flavors.
Think a burrito with Chinese BBQ Pork and jerk fried rice, or a jade red chicken quesadilla, or a combo plate with a choice of meat, rice, and sauce. They have some signature combinations, but there are enough choices where customers can make their own platter.
At first, Eve said people were a little apprehensive at the concept, but after they were featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", people were much more open to the idea.
"The difference Guy Fieri made for us was it went from "Chinese-Mexican? See ya." And when he got us on, it was 'Oh, yeah, I've got to go try this. Guy Loved it, so we've got to try this,'" she said.
"So, it opened people's minds and I like to think that we treated customers well enough that, ya know, you want to come back," she said.
IF YOU GO:
Chino Bandido (original)
15414 N 19th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85023