Panchos has had a few incarnations over the years, with each new ownership team leaving its mark on the iconic roadside taqueria. Now, the colourful cantina is turning the page on an exciting new chapter with locals Lachlan Cuskelly and Madeleine Norton at the helm. The charismatic young couple met while working at Commune and Etsu Izakaya, so they know a thing or two about hospitality. Headed home from a walk in Springbrook, the pair spied the slightly pre-loved exterior of Panchos, in all her well-seasoned glory, and decided then and there that there was plenty of life left in the old girl yet. Upon receiving the keys, the couple got to work removing and sorting 30-plus years of paraphernalia that adorned every square centimetre of wall (and ceiling) space and gave the place a much-needed spruce and a lick of paint. The original layout of the venue featured seating for 400 patrons across multiple spaces, which presented a bit of a pickle from a logistical perspective. As a means to overcome this, Lachlan and Madeleine reconfigured the rooms slightly and levelled out the back patio to turn it into a dedicated beer garden with its own bar. The changes also meant that one of the lesser-used dining spaces was able to be repurposed into a soundproof gig room, with plans to host live bands every weekend.
Next on the to-do list was the menu. For Lachlan and Madeleine, it wasn’t so much about changing things for the sake of changing them, there were some things that were a non-negotiable part of the Panchos legacy (the ribs and wings, for example). So rather than reinventing the wheel, head chef Angela Loftus-Rousseau put a modern spin on some of the much-loved Mexican classics including nachos piled high with frijoles, queso fresco, guac, salsa verde and chimichurri, soft tacos, burritos and, of course, the aforementioned ribs. Accompanying the new eats is a succinct-yet-satisfying selection of sips including the classic Pup’s Margy (tequila, agave, citrus) and the No Faith in Paloma (mezcal, Aperol, grapefruit, rosemary and agave) as well as a scattering of modern wines, sangria and craft beers. Oh, and before you ask, yes, they have EFTPOS!
Keen to check out the new-look Panchos? Roll over to our Stumble Guide for opening times.