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Heather Vazquez runs the third location of Pelayos in the former Casa Del Sol on Roosevelt Drive in Seaside.

A local family that started out with a food truck has expanded into a chain spanning both ends of Clatsop County.

Jorge Antonio Vazquez Pelayo, from Guadalajara, Mexico, founded Pelayo’s Taqueria, a food truck named after his mother’s surname that he bought from friends and parked outside the gas station at 17th Street and Marine Drive in 2016.

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Jorge Antonio Vazquez Pelayo started in 2016 with a food truck outside a gas station in Astoria, but has since expanded to three locations across Clatsop County.

“It was kind of slow, but all my friends, they asked for like 400 tacos for parties, 500 tacos,” he said. “And then the hospital … they order like 400 tacos, 600, then I started making money. And that’s how I survived in the first year.”

Vazquez Pelayo built up a reputation and over the summer opened a second food truck, run by his cousin, on Anchor Avenue in Warrenton.

Meanwhile, his wife, Heather Vazquez, worked at Casa Del Sol, a popular restaurant on the south end of Seaside. Originally an A&W, the restaurant has gone through several iterations, including the regional Mexican food chain Muchas Gracias until the late 2000s. Heather Vazquez has worked there since it became Don Pedro’s, a short-lived operation run by her husband and a friend.

The family running Casa Del Sol closed up shop earlier this year and returned to Mexico.

“It was closed for two months,” Heather Vazquez said. “A lot of people were really said.”

She and her husband, already friends with the family, reached out about taking over. Taqueria Pelayos opened there last week with the same decor, cook, menu and Heather Vazquez as a familiar face running the front counter. “A lot of people didn’t even notice the change,” she said.

Vazquez Pelayo doesn’t see the chain expanding any more unless the family starts franchising. “If somebody wants to use the name and open one, we can talk about it,” he said.

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After being closed for about two months, the former Casa Del Sol in Seaside reopened as Taqueria Pelayos, the third location of a local chain of Mexican restaurants.

Edward Stratton is a reporter for The Daily Astorian. Contact him at 971-704-1719 or estratton@dailyastorian.com.

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