Cilantro Taqueria to Open Third Location in Recently Shuttered John's Diner in Lakewood


  • Courtesy Cilantro Taqueria
John’s Diner (18260 Detroit Ave.) in Lakewood lasted for nearly 50 years until the pandemic shut it down for good. That long and narrow railcar diner and attached dining room won’t sit idle for long. The team behind Cilantro Taqueria already is at work converting the unique property into store number three.

Partners Raul Carrillo and Alex Galindo opened their first location (2783 Euclid Hts. Blvd., 216-331-3069) in early 2019, in a former Chipotle restaurant near Coventry. Next came Shaker Heights (20090 Van Aken Blvd.).

Spokesperson Rey Galindo says that Cilantro seems to be making a lasting impression with Mexican food fans because of their classic approach.

“I think our food has a more authentic taste to it,” Galindo states. “We do have the tacos that people load up, but also if you just want it the Mexican way with the tortilla, meat, cilantro, onion and salsa, you can.”

The team hopes to open within the next couple months, following some interior work that will convert the timeless diner arrangement to one more conducive to fast-casual dining. The main counter will need to come out, but many of the old booths will remain. A large chunk of the massive parking lot will be converted to patio seating.

Don’t be surprised if Lakewood, Shaker and Cleveland Heights are just the start, adds Galindo.

“We’re trying to expand big,” he says. “We’re trying to make this into a big chain, even out of state.”

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