The staff of Taqueria La Guadalupe man their posts behind the counter before the lunch rush begins.
The staff of Taqueria La Guadalupe man their posts behind the counter before the lunch rush begins.
MADISON - Angela Garcera watched the first restaurant she opened grow into a success on Old Canton Road, now it's time for her to get a piece of the action.

Last week, with the paint dried and the tables set, the Madison location of Taqueria La Guadalupe opened for business near the intersection of I-55 and Highway. 463.

Garcera has banking on the brand recognition the other location has established since it opened in 2009 to turn the new location into the go-to Mexican restaurant for Madison residents.

"A lot of people liked the food and the quality service and ingredients," Garcera said Monday, shortly after the lunch rush had died down. "Many of our customers were from the Madison area. They said 'Why don't you open one of these in Madison?' So that's what we decided to do."

Garcera has been renting the other restaurant to a business partner, Marco Lopez, which allows her to run the day-to-day operations at the new location. It has allowed her to put her own personal touch on things, and the result is a great eating experience.

If you're looking for Tex-Mex, keep looking. Sure, Taqueria La Guadalupe features all the amenities American diners are used to seeing in a Mexican restaurant, but the ingredients are fresh, every meal is made from scratch and it's as close to authentic Mexican cuisine as you can get without a passport.

The crowds that showed up on the first two days were a testament to the food.

"It was crazy," Garcera said. "We struggled a bit for the first two days, but by the third day we were open we got the hang of it. We just didn't know how many people were going to come in, and we want to thank the whole community for supporting us."

The restaurant is set up as a counter service. Customers come in, order, and the cooking process begins. Every order is made fresh, after it is ordered, and delivered promptly to the table.

Whether it's the Barbacoa plate (brisket meat served with rice, beans, salad and tortillas) or the 12-inch, three-meat Grande burrito, patrons are sure to find something to enjoy. All the staples - empanadas, tacos, quesadillas, tortas - are easy to find and are fully customizable for individual pallets.

There's even a desert menu, and Garcera said the three milk cake, which comes in chocolate or vanilla, has been a very popular item in the first week.

The check won't hit customers hard in the pockets, either. The most expensive individual meal on the menu is the grilled tilapia plate, and at $12, even that shouldn't be enough to chase away the younger crowd.

For drinkers, there's a bar with a happy hour that features half-off domestic beer and margaritas from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The restaurant is open in the old Haughty Pig location, Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.