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SCHERERVILLE | The popular Mexican restaurant chain El Salto has opened its first fast-casual restaurant at the busy intersection of Indianapolis Boulevard and U.S. 30. 

The El Salto restaurants NWI residents are familiar with in Valparaiso, Chesterton, Merrillville and Munster are traditional sit-down Mexican eateries, but the new El Salto Express is more like an express eatery where you tell employees at a counter what ingredients you want in your burrito. 

"I wanted to provide the community with the opportunity to enjoy the food they have come to love over the past 15 years at the other El Salto locations, in a quicker option," owner Robert Mendoza said.

"We could not have asked for a better location to bring our express restaurant to life."

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The new restaurant at 820 W. U.S. 30 in Schererville lets customers customize their own entrees, which include burritos, burrito bowls, tacos and salad bowls. They have a choice of shrimp, steak, grilled chicken, shredded chicken, ground beef and carnitas. There's also a vegetarian option and a wide range of toppings, including guacamole, queso dip and black beans.

Customers can call ahead, and the El Salto Express also offers catering.  

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The drive-thru also will stay open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.