March 23 • 12:38 PM

Did you see that show?

PBS TV show features Nacho's Taco House

Irene and Nacho Ramirez have been getting lots of added attention, and customers, since their recent appearance on PBS TV’s Michigan Magazine. Nacho’s Taco House opened for business in 1983. photo by Tom Wearing.

October 24, 2007
IMLAY CITY —Nacho's Taco House is a familiar name to countless local residents with a penchant for good food.

Now, news of the restaurant's fine Mexican cuisine is spreading across the state -- the result of a rebroadcast of a Michigan Magazine feature on the Public Broacasting Television channel.

Restaurant owner Nacho Ramirez says the recent airing of the PBS special featuring Nacho's Taco House has triggered a surge in customers.

The original broadcast was aired in 2004, after Michigan Magazine producers decided to spotlight the restaurant based on its good food and service and its appeal as a unique dining experience.

Ramirez and his wife, Irene, anticipated a spike in business after the first airing, but they were surprised by the response since the program was repeated.

"This place went nuts," says Ramirez, who opened the Mexican eatery in 1983. "We've been packed. We had people calling from Ludington, Muskegon, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, from all over the state; all wondering how to get to Imlay City. It's been wonderful for us."

Ramirez said the segment that appeared on Michigan Magazine was preceded by an interview and food test conducted by the program's producers.

"They came in here and we started serving them our Nacho's tacos and portions of other things on our menu," Ramirez says. "They must have liked it because they put us on TV."

While accustomed to large crowds at the restaurant, Ramirez admits he was not prepared for the most recent onslaught of customers.

"I was out sweeping the sidewalk one morning and all these people started walking up, saying 'We saw you on TV.' That caught me by surprise, I hadn't even shaved yet that day."

He's also surprised that so many people, many of whom live in the neighboring communities, are unaware of the location of Imlay City's downtown district, located on Third Street, off M-53.

"People come in here and say, 'we didn't know there was a downtown here, we thought it was out on M-53 at the plaza.'"

Ramirez makes no bones about the fact he is proud of his success, and of the growing familiarity of Nacho's Taco House to customers, both locally and across the state.

"We're the new ambassadors for Imlay City," quips Ramirez. "First there was (pro-football quarterback) Al Dorow; then there was (Major League umpire) Lee Weyer and then (NFL placekicker) Chester Marcol, and now everybody knows about us—Nacho's Taco House."

The restaurant currently employs an average of 17-18 workers, many of them members of the Ramirez family.

"I like being able to employ family and friends, because they work hard for us and they care about our customers," says Ramirez. "That's important."

With the restaurant's 25th anniversary coming up in March 2008, Ramirez is expecting big things in the future. Maybe, even another segment on PBS.

Nacho's Taco House is located at the corner of Main and Third streets in downtown Imlay City.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesday -Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday. The restaurant is closed Sundays and Mondays.

For reservations or to place an order, call the restaurant at 810-724-0700.

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
03 - 23 - 19
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