SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Mario Cardenas, the owner of West Ave Pizza and West Ave Chicken, is planning his third restaurant for Saratoga Springs. Maiz, named in tribute to his mother, would serve Guatemalan street food.
Cardenas took over West Ave Pizza in 2021. Seven months later in January 2022, he took over West Ave Chicken, which was originally Wings Over Saratoga.
Cardenas moved from Guatemala to Los Angeles in the late 1990s. His family then moved to New York and he’s been in the area for 22 years. His mom used to have a food stand when they lived in Guatemala, said Cardenas.
There are too many pizza places and Mexican eateries around the Albany area, said Cardenas, but no Guatemalan restaurants. “It’s never been done in the Capital District,” he said. “We need more diversity.”
Although the new restaurant has not yet come to fruition, Cardenas said he’s been selling Guatemalan food out of both his current restaurants from a “secret” menu. This menu would be the same menu for Maiz.
The menu includes empanadas, pupusas, enchiladas, taquitos, tamales, churrasco, and Guatemalan arancini. The restaurant would be called Maiz not only to honor his mother but because a lot of the products are corn-based, said Cardenas.
Realistically, Cardenas said he could open Maiz in the same plaza as West Ave Pizza and West Ave Chicken, but he doesn’t want three restaurants side-by-side. He’s still looking for possible locations for Maiz and wants to stay in Saratoga Springs.
Cardenas said it is a little intimidating to open this new restaurant, but he has a big family that works for him and already knows the Maiz menu. After he secures a space for Maiz, Cardenas hopes to open in spring 2023.