‘El Cactus’ brings authentic Mexican flavour


  • Stratford   Wednesday, June 2, 2021   Lauren Eedy, Stratford Times



After much anticipation, El Cactus Taco Shop in Stratford opened its doors for a soft opening this past Saturday.
Owned and operated by “taco grrrl” Alondra Galvez, a Stratford Chefs School alumnus hailing from Reynosa, Mexico, El Cactus offers traditional Mexican cuisine and dishes that have been passed down for generations. Alondra’s love for food began as a child, helping her grandmother in the kitchen, and she says this restaurant is a love letter to her “abuela”.
Alondra has an extensive background in the culinary field. She graduated with honours from the Stratford Chefs school in 2003, attained the Wine Fundamental Certificate via the International Sommelier Guild in 2005, and received her Journeywoman Red Seal Certificate in 2007.
She began her career at Bijou restaurant in Stratford and left in 2004 to travel abroad in pursuit of new culinary experiences which led her throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, South America, Germany, Italy and Australia and luckily for our locale, back to Stratford.
In recent years, she had been focusing on her growing family while sharing her love for Mexican cuisine at private parties. However, she felt the calling to return to a professional kitchen, and did so through working at The Common Restaurant alongside chef, friend, and fellow SCS Alumni Tim Otsuki. There, she offered Mexican inspired pop-up dinner parties which became very popular with locals and tourists alike, leading her to consider creating her own professional space where she could share her love of her culture and cuisine with both her family and our community.
Located at 2 Ontario Street, in the former Family & Company building, El Cactus offers a lovely patio for seating which overlooks the Avon River and the park on York Street, but throughout the year the Taco Shop will operate primarily as a takeout restaurant where patrons can order a delicious meal to go.
El Cactus has an extensive selection of meat, vegetarian, and vegan tacos and burritos, along with botanas (little snacks) such as scallop ceviche, assorted salsas and tostadas, Tia Mary’s jalapeño cream dip, frijoles rancheros and many other enticing offerings.
A vast selection of Jaritos pop bottles accentuate the vibrant aesthetic inside the newly-renovated location along with colourful pops of artwork and a variety of cacti species.
Alondra and her team will happily assist you with any questions you may have as it's difficult to settle on even one or two menu selections. Don’t forget to get a Kandy Cakes sweet on your way out, made as traditional Mexican cookies or iced to look like taquitos!
El Cactus opens its doors to a public grand opening on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5, with hours from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Regular hours will begin on Thursday, June 10 until Saturdays (for the time being). For more information on El Cactus Taco Shop, please visit www.elcactus.ca or call 519-273-6000.

(The Stratford Times is a future newspaper currently in the research and development stage. The Stratford Times is a sister paper of the locally owned and operated St. Marys Independent, Tavistock Gazette and Wilmot Post. Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/StratfordTimesNewspaper or Instagram @stratford_times, or for more information email us at stratfordtimes@gmail.com.)