Indiana Judge Makes Official Ruling On If Burritos and Tacos Are Sandwiches

An Indiana judge has made headlines by ruling that "tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches." This decision paves the way for a new restaurant to open, much to the delight of the restaurateur involved after a lengthy legal struggle.

Martin Quintana, aged 53, has been endeavoring to launch his second The Famous Taco outlet in Fort Wayne for nearly three years. This city is located roughly 120 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

The complication arose from a development agreement for Quintana’s plaza, which specified the site was restricted to a "sandwich bar-style restaurant" focusing on "made-to-order" or "subway-style" sandwiches.

Quintana faced opposition from the nearby Covington Creek Association, which claimed his The Famous Taco project violated the agreement.

In response, Quintana took legal action against the Fort Wayne Plan Commission in December 2022. He had sought to amend the agreement to explicitly permit his restaurant to serve made-to-order tacos, burritos, and other Mexican-style dishes, as reported by The Journal Gazette.

However, Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay ruled that the commission was right to deny Quintana’s amendment. Interestingly, Bobay also decided that such an amendment was unnecessary, stating the original commitment already accommodated restaurants like The Famous Taco.

Bobay’s ruling stated, "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."

A relieved Quintana expressed his joy on Thursday, looking forward to opening his new restaurant in Fort Wayne, which boasts a population of approximately 270,000 people. "I’m glad this thing is over. We are happy. When you have a decision like this the only thing you can be is happy. We’re excited," he shared with The Associated Press.

Quintana recounted his journey to the U.S. from Mexico in 1988. He initially worked as a farm laborer in California, handling crops like grapes, olives, and kiwi, before venturing into the restaurant industry in Michigan. He later moved to Chicago and settled in Fort Wayne in 2001. He also runs another restaurant in the city.

Looking ahead, Quintana revealed that his new family-operated The Famous Taco should open in two to three months. Similar to his other location, which opened nearly seven years ago, it will allow customers to select their preferred toppings for tacos, burritos, or tortas, which are assembled by the staff.

Quintana humorously noted on tortas, "You know, that’s a sandwich, that’s bread. That’s a sandwich. We go through a lot of those."