You asked, they answered: Antique Taco on hard work, team culture, and more

Meet the owners:


Ashley & Rick Ortiz, Antique Taco

With Antique Taco, Ashley and Rick are bringing together their family, their work, and their two greatest passions. A favorite among Chicago’s Wicker Park and Bridgeport neighborhoods, the restaurant serves up fresh tacos and margaritas.



Who better to answer your questions about starting and running a small business than business owners who’ve done it themselves?

This month, we’re partnering with business owners featured in Grit & Greenlights: Small Business Stories with Matthew McConaughey to answer questions from our social media audience.

Here, Ashley Ortiz — who owns Chicago’s celebrated Antique Taco along with her husband, Rick — shares what she’s learned about building successful restaurants and teams. 

What are the biggest challenges when running a restaurant with your spouse?

We have a hard time turning off work. Hospitality is more of a lifestyle, so it’s hard to not talk about food!

Have you seen any big changes in the types of things job seekers are asking or looking for versus before COVID?

The culture has always been important at Antique Taco but it’s even more important these days. We do quarterly education classes and we try to gauge the team’s goals and interests. 

What is the top quality or value you feel helped you become successful entrepreneurs/restaurateurs ?

I would say getting your hands dirty, there is no substitute for hard work. Even if you can’t do everything well, make sure you try everything and understand the challenges. 

Owning a restaurant during COVID must have been challenging. What was your secret to survival — and do you think you learned anything that you’ll carry with you post-pandemic?

Owning a restaurant has always kept me on my toes, but Covid forced me to see what it would feel like to lose it all overnight. We took it day by day because everything changed so quickly. My biggest lesson over Covid was to take more risks, change something if it isn’t working, and don’t be scared to do what’s best for your business. 

Any advice for a prospective restaurant owner just about to get started?

Ask yourself why you’re doing this, the reason might shift over the years but always continue to question yourself and it will help guide you. 



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