On the Line: Ed McNary from Pedro's Tacos

We head South this week to meet a man doing more than serving fish tacos— he's offering franchising opportunities! And before you question the brand that is Pedro's Tacos, know that Pedro has had the loyal following for 30 years.

After nearly 30 years, how did you decide on franchising?
We wanted to share what we've learned about this business with others and be able to provide opportunities for others.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Fish tacos, of course. And seafood.

Tell us about your industry experience.
I owned a Green Burrito franchise before acquiring the original Pedro's Tacos. I first started in the business at The Capistrano Depot in San Juan Capistrano. Then Mamacita's Mexican Restaurant in Seal Beach and Gina's Pizza in Corona del Mar. 

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Don't try to do everything yourself.

How would you describe the difference between your brand and other taco brands?
Our flavors are very different and we have a small menu.

What's your preferred burrito on the menu, and how about your wife's favorites?
My wife, Charlene, likes the regular fish tacos. I like the carne asada burrito because of its Greek flavors.

How did you meet your wife?
We met through our best friends. It wasn't a set up, just a chance meeting that worked out well.

Where did you grow up?
Charlene grew up in Anaheim, and I grew up in Newport Beach.

Favorite childhood memory:
Driving out to the Orange Grove to see the Navy Blue Angels.

Favorite places to eat:
Dizz's in Laguna Beach.

Are there challenges to operating a drive-thru?
Just need to be organized and quick.

You are not the original owner of Pedro's Who was and how did you acquire it?
I purchased it in 1989 from my friend Pete Katsiametis. He was Greek, and that's why the carne asada has a Greek flavor influence.

Let's talk about the hot sauce packets. Specifically, the Heinz ones. How does it differ, and are they really that popular?
The Heinz sauce has a special flavor, and it has its own cult following.

One food you can't live without:
Mexican food because I grew up with it here in California.

What prompted you to open a location in Boston?
My wife Charlene— our daughter went to school in Boston, and we wanted an opportunity to be closer to her.

How do you describe the difference between your brand and other taco brands?
Our flavors are very different and we have a small menu.

Weirdest customer requests (and did you do it?):
A lady wanted cabbage and white sauce to make her own coleslaw. Yes, we served it to her.

Favorite meal growing up:
Beanie and weenie— yes, I loved beans and cut up hot dogs in a can. It was good comfort food.

When you're not running the restaurants, what are you doing?
Working around the house, or spending time with my family and friends.

Last book you read; how was it?
Centennial by James Michener; it was very long.

Last thing you looked up online:
Probably something historical.

Do you have any additional skills that have nothing to do with food?
I like to do masonry, and Charlene likes to organize and celebrate family gatherings.

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