Are Tacos and Burritos Sandwiches? An Indiana Judge Says "Yes"

An Indiana restaurant owner took his battle to court after a failed attempt at expansion.
Burrito from Taco Bell
Burrito from Taco Bell / Joshua Blanchard/GettyImages

Lately, there have been some interesting food-related arguments that have entered the courtroom. A couple of weeks ago, we saw the pistachio ice cream debacle with Cold Stone. Now, there's a new discussion that involves a Mexican restaurant owner. The question at hand: are tacos and burritos sandwiches?

The situation began with Martin Quintana, a 53-year-old business owner, attempting to add a second The Famous Taco Location in Fort Wayne, Indiana over the course of three years. However, according to the Associated Press, the plaza he intended to move to limits businesses to a "sandwich bar-style restaurant whose primary business is to sell 'made to order' or 'subway-style' sandwiches."

Consequently, Quintana heard from the nearby Covington Creek Association saying his proposed restaurant did not meet the requirements for the plaza. Frustrated by the decision, Quintana sued the Fort Wayne Plan Commission in December of 2022 after it denied the proposed amendment that would allow him specifically to serve all of his Mexican-style items.

Flash forward to May 2024, and Quintana finally saw a court victory. Although Allen Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay ruled that the rejected amendment proposal was correct, he sided with Quintana that tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches. 

"The court agrees with Quintana that tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches, and the original Written Commitment does not restrict potential restaurants to only American cuisine-style sandwiches," Bobay wrote in a ruling.

With the authorization from Bobay, the second The Famous Taco location will likely open in the next two or three months. The restauranter, who came to the US from Mexico in 1988, will get to serve his Mexican-style sandwiches to the second most populous city in Indiana.

While a taco or burrito may not be the same as a Panera Bread sandwich... Legally, it is still a sandwich. Now let's litigate hot dogs, next!

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