Talking about Los Toldos Chicken is talking about love and rebellion, two words that describe Patricia Gonzáles, the architect of this family business. It was in 1998 when she and her husband, Ricardo Tejada, returned to Cusco to start a family life. They went through all the chicken shops that existed at that time in the city and none convinced them. The premises were not the most suitable for a celebration and she dreamed of something like that. This is where the story of the business that has won the hearts of Cusco residents and tourists would begin.
Patricia’s family had a free space on Almagro street, the objective was to rent it as had been done before, however, this did not happen. Patricia and her husband decided to start their dream and use the premises to create their own business, this secretly from her mother, who upon returning to Cusco found out about this decision, for several days she did not speak to her daughter, until she He decided to support her and “get on the horse” as Patricia says.
– Why a grilled chicken business?
When my husband and I went to live in Cusco, we discovered that the chicken shops were not pretty and I, with a degree in hotel management, knew that investing in gastronomic businesses was very profitable, so I made the decision. I wanted a chicken shop that would be a luxury for those who sat down, with a salad bar like the one in Bembos in its beginnings, with a good product and service and of course, without having to be expensive or only focused on tourists.
– How did the family receive this decision?
We decided with my husband and we started working in the premises that were for rent. A friend helped me with the design. By the time my mother returned to Cusco, we were already halfway through the project. My mom, at first, had doubts. There was a chicken shop on every corner, but I knew that ours was something different from what existed at that time, so I asked him to join us. After several days she accepted and told me let’s do it. When the place was almost ready, they began to refine details, one of them the decorative awnings that would go on the façade, they put them up and the municipality denied them permission, they had to remove them, but with the awnings ready, they had no better idea to put them inside the premises and thus the name of the chicken shop was born. The awnings had brought us so much trouble that we decided to call our business that.
The day the doors opened
On May 9, 1998, they inaugurated the first location of Los Toldos Chicken. “It was a day before Mother’s Day, the inauguration was in the afternoon with a Cusco-style blessing. We started selling and the power went out throughout the city, we only managed to sell three chickens and we had to close the store”, says Patricia.
The next day they reopened, but with little hope of veins. Only two chickens were bought. Once again, they closed again and with much more hope and desire, they opened on Monday and that was the day, people passed by and entered, the surprise of the salad bar and the proposal totally different from what was seen in the city, helped them to sell 15 chickens. The next day sales would double and so on until reaching more than 100 chickens per day. “According to our calculations, if we managed to sell 30 chickens a day, we would pay off the debts we had and that was the case.”
At first they didn’t have enough money to hire staff, so the whole family was part of the business, her brother, who was a chef, helped with the recipes, she and her husband did a bit of everything, and her mom became the official potato fryer Thus, little by little and thanks to word of mouth, the business began to bear fruit, to the point that they were forced to close the restaurant next door in order to expand the poultry shop. They made the decision to expand the menu and began offering pasta and pizza, with the help of a family friend.
The taste of Los Toldos Chicken
“I worked in a chicken shop when I lived in Lima and my brother is a chef, we both had notions and we thought it would be so difficult. My husband also began to notice how the ovens worked, so we ventured to buy one and that’s how it all began”, says Patricia.
To find the flavor that would characterize their chicken, they decided to use eucalyptus firewood. For the crispy potatoes, they would first fry them in pans and then in industrial fryers. And the inevitable salads, with two dressings and vegetables according to the season.
The flavor, the location and the affection of everyone who came to the chicken shop allowed them to have up to five locations, but the pandemic forced them to close three. Far from being a bad moment for the family and the whole team, it represented an opportunity, Los Toldos Chicken would land in a new city: Lima.
The grilled chicken from Cusco that Lima expected
– Why did you decide to open a store in Lima?
Many clients have asked us to come to their city, but one client told me that if we took the grilled chicken to Lima, the phrase that accompanied the arrival of the place should be: “The grilled chicken from Cusco that Lima expected” so it was. After going through the worst moment of the pandemic, my husband and my mother began to look for a place and in March 2022 we found it and rented it. With leaps and bounds we began to work to have it ready before the end of the year.
– How has the Los Toldos Chicken team received this challenge?
Many people asked us to come to Lima and with the original essence of Los Toldos Chicken, we knew that it would not be easy, because here there are more and very good proposals, however, we know that we have a lot to offer. Our smoked chicken has an incomparable seasoning, our potatoes are very crunchy and the chili is very rustic. We are very good and very accepted, so despite the difficulty it is a challenge that we decided to take.
a new home
The priority of Patricia and her team, or as she says, her family, is to grow in Lima and offer their diners a different offer. Even the menu in Lima is not as big as the one in Cusco, but she anticipates that within three months, with the inauguration of the second floor of the store, they will also begin to offer pizzas. In addition, they have in mind the creation of two ‘dark kitchens’ so that people from other districts of Lima can also enjoy grilled chicken from Los Toldos Chicken, although as a recommendation, Patricia assures that there is nothing better than tasting chicken in one of their tables.
Los Toldos Chicken has come to Lima to stay and to become that special place for many families from Lima and, of course, for the ones from Cusco, who with the passing of the days are turning it into their meeting point.
Where to find them?
Direction: Av. Aviation 3250, San Borja
Hours of operation: Monday to Sunday 12pm to 10pm
Direction: C. Almagro 171 / Jr. Barclay 1
Phone: 084229829 – 984705206
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.