Home » Restaurants, Tacos

El Compadre ‘Factory’

Posted by ZCC 4 Sep 2008 4 Comments

First off, allow me congratulate the proprietors of this establishment on selecting a fine name, translated from the spanglish as “the buddy factory,” that puts a grin on my face. Their selection of both interior and exterior paints is equally cheery, a bright green outside and a light violet interior.

It seems that El Compadre Factory (2900 Holloway St) has recently changed ownership and name. Formerly, as Chino Latino, it had dancing on some nights. The booths still hug the walls and there is one of those multicolored disco ball lights hanging from the ceiling. The road sign outside made it unclear whether or not there is still dancing on the weekends (as well as the name of the place).  But more importantly (to some) than dancing, the proprietor told us that it will be open for breakfast.

Before I get to the food, I would like to share the highlight of my visit: the typo (probably…) on the sign by the entrance. It really made the trip out down 70 to East Holloway worth it.

The food is pretty standard taqueria fare: generous portions, low prices and an impressive variety of options that led to some serious wikipedia-ing afterwards. I now know that ‘cecina’ is a type of salted dried beef, ‘longaniza’ is a pork sausage similar to chorizo but differently seasoned and ‘pambazo’ is a Mexican hot sandwich dipped in guajillo pepper sauce. All things I need to try if I return. I took a photo of the menu for future study, but it may look different next time–the owner assured us that they would be adding an English menu.  She assumed (understandably, as we are purely, unmistakably gringos) that we didn’t know what a torta was and helpfully explained everything.

This trip, I chose the torta cubana and YAR selected a taco al pastor and a carne asada huarache. The torta cubana ($6) featured a nice crusty roll filled with chicken, carne asada and a hot dog topped with lettuce, avocado and tomato. While I initially raised an eyebrow at the hot dog, the overall sandwich experience was quite nice, especially when I added the grilled green onion garnish, some of the house red hot sauce (I believe a chile de arbol) and a squeeze of lime. Munching on some the radishes between bites, it made for a filling meal.

The huarache (which translates to ‘sandal’) consisted of a thick, oblong corn tortilla, probably made in house, topped with refried beans, carne asada, and cheese, drizzled with fresh crema. I enjoyed it topped with some pico de gallo (which may have been intended for the taco), though it was a bit difficult not to slice the wax paper beneath it into each bite. Definitely a lot of food for 3 bucks. The taco al pastor was probably the best item we tried, though it didn’t have any pineapple. It was seasoned very well, but I couldn’t resist adding a bit of the salsa verde to it for a bit of that tomatillo citrusy zing.

Overall, a decent cheap eat find with a lot of room for exploration. I think I’ll stop by next time I’m in the area, try a pambazo and make sure the beast sign is still there. I take solace in little confirmations of the universe’s bad sense of humor.


  • PeterB said:

    Los Comales puts a hot dog on their Torta Cubana as well. Weird but good. Maybe it’s a Durham/Mexican thing.


  • CEP said:

    Chino Latino used to have “tranvestite night” where the Durham Mexican population could dress up and sing songs from songstresses such as Laura Leon, et al. I wonder if the niche for Hispanic drag queens will be filled by Durham’s new tacqueria or if they will have to go elsewhere…


  • TSQ75 said:

    Chino Latino has def been known for its alternative crowd dance nights, it’ll be sad if that niche is lost.

    I’ve never understood the wanting to put a hot dog on “Cuban” stuff…i guess i would have expected a cuban torta to either have cuban sandwich fillings, or at the very least black beans, or spanish chorizo or plantains or something…lol


  • focusonyourcraft said:

    Taqueria Lopez also works the Cubano = hot dog angle. The experience made me a tried-and-true pastor fan … up until my first experience at Costa Azul last week. Their Cubano torta was absolutely amazing! Once I saw your picture of it, I knew I had to have it. Keep up the good work!


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