Jimmie Schindler, Sr. started Jimmie’s pizza in 1980, but eventually wanted to leave the pizza business because he didn’t like coupons or delivery. His wife at the time said, “Let’s go out and try Mexican food.” Back then that wasn’t a big thing, and there weren’t many Mexican restaurants in the Ft. Wayne area. Jimmie didn’t want to, but went anyway. They arrived to a line formed around the restaurant, in spite of the poor service and quality. Long story short, Jimmie knew he could do better—so he hired cook Arminio Cortez, who had great recipes. Cortez’s wife translated these Spanish recipes into English, and Jimmie’s Pizza was transformed into a now booming Mexican restaurant: Bandidos.
Jimmie II (nicknamed Little Jimmie) purchased the business from his dad in 2013, after attending Notre Dame and getting his MBA at Purdue. “My main focus has been not changing the recipes, but making the core ingredients as high-quality as possible (not buying shredded lettuce or frozen peppers, but instead hand-cutting them fresh).
In light of this mission, Bandidos is starting a new venture this October called Taqueria B. They are closing their Northcrest Shopping Center location and moving to 4122 Lima Road. Employees will be moved to a new concept that will be much like a Mexican version of McAlister’s—with more service and alcohol.
“Everything will be made 100 percent from scratch,” Jimmie II said. “We will have no microwaves, no freezers, no ketchup or mustard, and no cans. We will hand-squeeze our margaritas, hand-chop our fresh produce, and homemake our own tortillas. Cheese will be shredded from blocks, and we will only use bleach-free flour. We want our food to taste like something your mom would make.”
The new restaurant will have an open-concept feel, with the kitchen in the front of the restaurant so customers can watch their food being made and see the ingredients—because the staff is proud to show its high quality. You can watch the cold-prep employee making salsa or the new green tomatillo sauce.
“We tried to figure out what people hate when they go out to eat, and offer better solutions. At Taqueria B, the credit card never leaves your hands, as the wait staff brings an iPad directly to your table when you’re ready to close your tab. Food will be high-quality for a fair price—similar to Bandidos, around eight to ten dollars. Guests pace their visit. They can stay for 15 minutes or 3 hours.”
Jimmie II’s advice for a small business owner is: “Any small business owner would tell you it is a lot of work. As I like to say, you can choose any 80 hours to work you want. You have to be passionate and willing to put in the hours, because you will never work harder in your whole life than owning a restaurant—or a printing company, or whatever. That is why you have to hire caring employees and treat them right; empower them to make your business better. Owning a business is high-fun, high-stress, and can offer extremely high rewards.”