Casual, Quick, Centro
Photos by Mike Hnida
When you’re craving great tacos and delicious margaritas, Centro has you covered.
The other night, my partner and I made plans with our two friends who have become our (very small) quarantine circle over the past year. We wanted to have a game night, which quickly turned into a margarita night, which quickly turned into a taco night. I mean, you can’t have game night without cocktails, and you definitely can’t have margaritas without tacos.
First, we considered doing a grocery run and making our own tacos. But what fun is a game night if you have to spend half of it cooking? So, it only made sense to pick up an order from our favorite taco joint, Centro in Northeast Minneapolis.
I have serious taco cravings slightly more often than I would like to admit, so I am no stranger to Centro. It’s affordable, quick, casual, and delicious—basically everything I want in a taco place. And not only has Centro become a staple in my household, but it’s also proven itself to be a staple of the community, too.
“We really have a mix of guests that visit us which we truly love! A lot of our guests live in the Northeast neighborhood and swing in after they finish their day at their art studio. Families, couples, and friends also gather at Centro for any occasion. It’s really great to see familiar faces again as we slowly open back up. It makes us feel warm and happy inside,” says Cody Webster, marketing and catering manager of Centro.
Centro, which is owned and managed by Jami Olson, was started by a passionate group of people who love hospitality and creating a fun space for guests, which definitely shows in every detail of the restaurant and its menu.
“The idea of Centro was to build a casual quick-service hangout where anyone could enjoy great tacos and margs and create the experience that suited them. An amazing team of people helped lift the concept off the ground and put it into action,” Webster says.
“Our mission is to always help grow and support our community. We want everyone in our space (staff and guests) to feel safe, comfortable, and welcome. We want our neighborhood to thrive and provide opportunity,” Webster adds. “We have the opportunity to create a space that is healthy and fun. We have the privilege to collaborate with other organizations to get things done and to help out in our city. Supporting and enhancing our community is always number one on our list, starting at Centro’s front doors.”
Like so many others, Webster says, Centro had its fair share of hiccups and hurdles to jump through to get Centro open. But after some time of fine-tuning and making adjustments, Centro became the well-oiled machine that it is today.
“The team was proud of their hard work and what was accomplished. And then March 2020 hit… a wrench in the well-oiled machine. Through the pandemic, we’ve really learned so much about what’s important as a business and as a Centro family,” Webster says. “The health and safety of our staff, the prosperity of our neighborhood, learning it’s okay to not be okay; the list goes on! It’s been extremely challenging for everyone this past year but with challenge comes growth. We are hopeful that on the other side of June is a bright, sunny, and full-of-margaritas future!”
“Everyone loves tacos and margaritas, so inherently, the people come! That’s just where Centro starts. After enjoying the tacos and margs, guests develop a deeper connection to the restaurant and staff. Our team culture at Centro is the most important thing to us, and it really translates to our guests. When you’re happy on the inside, you can see it on the outside,” Webster says. “We’ve worked really hard to create a safe and accepting space for everyone in our restaurant, and the community can feel it.”
Webster says this attitude has allowed Centro to make connections with people and organizations in the Twin Cities, one being The Aliveness Project, which is hosting its Dining Out For Life event on Thursday, April 29. Centro is one of several restaurants participating, so if you want to enjoy some tasty tacos and margs that support people living with HIV/AIDS, you’re in luck!
“Who knew margaritas could make such good happen,” Webster says.
For more information about Centro, visit centrompls.com.