Mas Sabores leaving North Grand, moving to Chatham

Mas Sabores, a Mexican bakery, taqueria and ice cream shop, opened in July at 425 North Grand Ave., but the business is now coming full circle with a move to Chatham.

Alejandro “Alex” and Gabriela “Gabby” Rico are the owners of the business, which means “more flavors.” The couple already operated a similar business, Sabores, at 323 N. Main St. in Chatham.

“Since the beginning, we wanted to add tacos and expand the menu but didn’t have room, so that’s why we found another location,” said Gabriela Rico. “The North Grand space was almost move-in ready as far as equipment.”

The building most recently housed No Way Jose’s, a Mexican restaurant initially owned and operated by Jose Lopez Jr., who later sold to his managing partner, Oiris Morales.

However, when the temperatures turned cooler earlier this month, the Ricos realized the heat wasn’t working. “Two weeks ago, it was really cold inside. The building needs a lot of upgrades for winter,” said Rico.

Rico said they were unsure if their landlord would be able to make repairs in time for them to remain operational, and in the meantime, the couple learned that Sun Thai was closing. The restaurant is located next door to their existing business in Chatham.

Sun Thai’s last day of operations was Oct. 22, and a post on the business’ Facebook page cited “staffing shortages, increases in food prices and increases in wages,” noting that Sun Thai would consolidate resources into a single location and continue to operate its Carlinville restaurant.

Rico said they will take possession of the new space Nov. 1, and her sister will take over operations of Sabores while she and her husband will focus on running the restaurant and bakery next door. They plan to open as early as 8 a.m. on the weekends and add a brunch menu, as well as delivery service in the Chatham area.

The goal is to have Mas Sabores back open by the beginning of November, since Rico doesn’t expect to have to do much to the new space other than painting and interior decorating.

While the business model has shifted quickly, Rico said she thinks it will ultimately be a positive move. “We live here in Chatham and we have little kids. I think it’s going to be easier for us having another business right here across the street.”

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