One step into Tacos El Paraiso, and customers are immersed in the rich scents and vibrant colors of authentic Mexican cuisine. With its bright orange and green walls, tantalizing aromas
and friendly staff, the restaurant is one of over one hundred eateries in Brooklyn Park that give the city a unique character.
Rogelio Cardosa and his family (Brenda Cardosa, sister; Jorge Cardosa, father; Juana Valmaceda, mother; and Luis Valmaceda, cousin) immigrated from Mexico over 20 years ago. They began by working for a janitorial company and in 2016 opened a food truck in New Hope. “We decided to open our own business because we wanted to share our culture and our flavors with the community,” Rogelio says. And share they did. For two years the food truck operated around New Hope and Brooklyn Park. From zoning codes in New Hope to a commissary kitchen as far away as Anoka, the experience came with its own difficulties and a steep learning curve. But Tacos El Paraiso always had community support. In one case, when New Hope was debating a zoning change that would have made it more difficult for the food truck to operate, the community wrote letters to the city council and the measure did not pass. To operate in Brooklyn Park, a city which has worked to become more food truck friendly over the past year, Tacos El Paraiso needed to learn to navigate the regulations of a different city. Ultimately, the family-owned business overcame these challenges and moved to a brick-and-mortar store on Edinburgh Centre Drive at the end of 2018.
Tacos El Paraiso chose Brooklyn Park for its permanent location in part because of the diversity of the city. Rogelio explained that “we decided to come to Brooklyn Park because there were a lot of different people around the area.” According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Brooklyn Park is the second most diverse city in Minnesota and the 26th most diverse in the nation. The many cultures that call Brooklyn Park home provide a great opportunity for the Cardosa family’s business to flourish.
For Rogelio and his family, sharing their food is the best way to share their culture. From food truck to restaurant, Tacos El Paraiso has always been about what Rogelio loves: serving food. “When people tell you they like your food, you’re happy,” he says. And their food seems to make the customers happy, too.