Mexican food runs in Eddie Vargas’ blood.
The Detroit restaurant veteran’s grandparents were taqueros back in Jalisco, where young Eddie immigrated from at age 4. The family first made their way to Los Angeles and eventually to Detroit for its more affordable lifestyle.
“We started selling tacos underground, illegally,” Vargas recalls. “We had a little taco stand and sold tacos at a park where they had soccer tournaments in southwest Detroit.”
When he was 15, Vargas got a job as a busboy in a local Italian restaurant and eventually worked his way up to serving, bartending, cooking, and managing.
“And I just never got out of it,” he says.
Vargas managed the beloved Mexican-Italian hybrid El Barzon for eight years and then opened sister restaurant La Noria, helping to design its innovative and expansive cocktail program.
In the spring of 2019, Vargas and partners debuted Peso in the Hubbard-Richard area of Southwest Detroit, concentrating on the Jaliscan cuisine of his roots and doubling down on a beverage program that included 20-some craft margaritas, cantaritos, and palomas.
It’s also where Vargas introduced his family’s prized birria recipe to the dining public.
Despite strong reviews, Peso permanently closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Vargas has since moved on to another area Mexican cuisine powerhouse, the hospitality group that runs the popular El Parian food trucks. Vargas is director of operations for the group’s brick-and-mortar restaurants, which include Los Altos, Los Arcos, and La Palapa del Parian.
Vargas hopes to one day run a taqueria of his own.
Get a taste of Vargas’ future — and his family’s culinary history — at FRAMEbar April 6 through May 8, and follow @foodeddiedetroit on Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of Eddie Vargas’ activity.