MORRIS – Al Shalash said his team had been cooking nonstop, all day.
The doors to Paisano’s Grill and Meican Market on Division Street had opened Aug. 1 and on Thursday there were lines for the grill to the door.
Shalash said he grew up in the grocery business, and his family always operated one sort of store or another. After running a grocery store in Joliet, he and his family decided to move operations.
“We wanted a quiet setting,” he said on why they chose the Morris location. “We know there are enough to support a Hispanic grocery store ... I know we offer an awesome product.”
The grocery store section of business offers staples, with produce and deli sections in the store. Shalash said the meat section will season the meat for you and that his season mixes are popular.
It’s a family business: During the summer, Shalash said his wife, Lucy, and four daughters would be helping in the store. Other staff have been with him for years, he said.
After years of running a grocery store, Shalash said it made sense to add the restaurant portion.
“When you know the grocery business, you know the product,” he said. “We know how to cook.”
The grill follows a familiar model - choose the type of food – such as burrito, taco, bowl – and then choose how they want it made.
Rather than choosing from as many as seven to 10 ingredients, Paisano’s has more than 20 to choose from.
From several different types of cheese, different beans and rice and less common ingredients such as a cabbage salad, pickled onions or a red onion salad, there a multiple ways to change up the item.
“If you choose one, it changes the taco or burrito to a whole other flavor,” Shalash said. “Everything we make in house.
There have been some growing pains. Notes around the store acknowledge that some products are not on the shelf yet, but that they will be in soon. Shalash said customers should let them know what they want.
Paisano’s Grill and Mexican Market is located at 1840 Division St., Morris.