You have to try the tacos at this Berkley spot that made it to the James Beard Semifinals

They want to make you feel at home

The menu may be simple, with tacos, quesadillas, and hotdogs, but the flavors are not. Chef Amado Lopez is an expert at slowly building flavors over time. As he explains most of the proteins on his tacos are “guisados” or stews, meaning they are braising for hours in spices and flavors until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.

“Our number one priority as cooks is to make sure we serve wholesome food,” explains Lopez, who has been serving up wholesome food since he was in high school.

Starting out in a vocational school for cooking, he went on to work for several big names in the Chicago food scene before deciding to move to Michigan to be near his wife’s family. Once in the mitten state, he found work at Plum Market as an Executive Chef and then went on to do consulting work for restaurants.

Once the pandemic hit, however, since he worked mainly as a contractor, there were few government benefits he qualified for despite being out of work, so he and his business partner, Emilia, opened up a pop-up taqueria. One of the places they popped up was at Frame in Hazel Park. From there they did several catering jobs until a friend introduced them to the Atomic Dog in Berkley.

At the time, the Atomic Dog was only open for lunch, so Lopez asked if they could operate Casa Amado Taqueria out of the building at night on the weekends. They did very well and continued growing and expanding their team and hours until they asked if they could take over the spot full time, and the owner of Atomic Dog agreed.

Now the homey building on Coolidge in downtown Berkley is where Casa Amado Taqueria operates full-time.

In 2023, Amado Lopez was a James Beard Semifinalist chef for his curated tacos. Each taco is served on a double corn shell and is expertly paired with their toppings - like a creamy poblano onion sauce for the chipotle chicken, or a cactus slaw with their steak tacos. In honor of Atomic Dog, they have a sonoran on the menu, and you can also find a quesadilla.

Casa Amado Taqueria will be open on Cinco de Mayo but will be closed on Saturday to recoup. You can also find their taco truck at the Dog and Pony Show Brewing from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m..

Casa Amado Taqueria is located at 2705 Coolidge Hwy in downtown Berkley.

About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.