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From bracelets to burritos for Sandy Cameron

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Taking your order is the chef’s husband and assistant Timothy Casey.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Chef Sandy Cameron was getting her tortitas ready for the next order burrito order.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Chef Sandy Cameron gets busy in her food truck that has been a dream of hers for years.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Sandy Cameron owner of Bandido’s Burritos of Kauai throwing up the shaka with her business partner and husband Timothy Casey.

LIHU‘E — After losing her jewelry business during the pandemic last year, Chef Sandy Cameron of Lihu‘e decided it was time to make a different dream happen: owning a food truck.

And, Bandido’s Burritos of Kaua‘i opened its doors on Monday April 5th, stationed between The Garden Island Newspaper and Kaua‘i CrossFit in Lihu‘e, selling Mexican food inspired by a job she had cooking in a food truck years ago in California.

“I had a jewelry business at the waterfront, and because of COVID, I lost the business because cruise ships were not coming in,”Cameron said.

Cameron had a truck that had been sitting in her driveway for a couple of years, one she bought from Ana Munoz, former owner of La Bamba Mexican Restaurant at Kukui Grove Center in Lihu‘e, and Mi Casita at Waipouli Plaza in Kapa‘a. So, she and her husband Timothy Casey, who works full-time at United Airlines as a mechanic, put about $30,000 into the vehicle to bring it up to par for use as a food truck. It took the couple a year to get inspections, permits and go through the steps required to legally own and run a food truck.

On opening day, Munoz stopped by to score a burrito and check in on the new business.

“I’m so excited for them and I wish them the best,” Munoz said as she stopped by for a visit. “This used to be our truck and now it has a new life now.”

With an established career as a chef already under her belt and space in the licensed kitchen across the street, Cameron said the endeavor is picking up steam.

Cameron wasn’t all that interested in starting a food truck before the pandemic triggered a loss of business at her jewelry shop. Though the family had the truck in their driveway and her husband kept bringing up the subject, Cameron said she was hesitant to jump on board with the dream, at first.

“I said I’m not giving up my jewelry business and I don’t want to be in a hot truck,” Cameron said. “But here we are.”

They chose the name Bandido’s Burritos of Kaua‘i in honor of the inspiration for the food — after the food trucks where Cameron used to work.

“They are called ‘Burrito Bandidos,’ and we are called ‘Bandido’s Burritos’,” Casey explained. “They are really good friends with her to this day.”

In addition to selling food at Bandido’s Burritos of Kaua‘i, the couple volunteers their skills in the Calvary Chapel soup kitchen and will start cooking for the soup kitchen every Friday of the month, starting at the end of April.

Inspired by their sons that play sports, the couple is also giving back to the community by supporting Kaua‘i youth sports in a variety of ways.

“We already donated to a baseball team before we sold a burrito,” Casey said. “A pony team called the ‘Marlins,’ that’s the 13-year-olds.”

Casey said they would like to coordinate a fundraiser or cook for high school baseball games in the future depending upon the restrictions surround Vidinha stadium.

“I don’t know if I got to get a daily permit over there,” Casey said. ” My boys are on the high school team.”

After her first two days of being open, Cameron expressed gratitude toward the Kaua‘i community.

“We thank you in advance for helping us out with our new business and I hope to feed as many people as I can with some delicious food,” Cameron said.

•••

Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

6 Comments
  1. kauaiboy April 8, 2021 6:58 am Reply

    Bandito’s Burittos? Really?

    In this age of political correctness, has no one mentioned to Ms. Cameron that some Mexicans and Mexican Americans, and those that appreciate them, might take offense at the caricature of a Mexican as being an outlaw and a bandit, especially given the discrimination faced by those who live south of the border or have crossed to find a better life in the U.S.?

    I, for one, will stick to Mexican food trucks owned and operated by Mexican Americans who serve authentic Mexican fare, such as Tacos Al Pastor and El Taco Feliz in Kapaa.


  2. Mark April 9, 2021 1:56 pm Reply

    Bandido is the masculine Spanish word for a bandit. It does not indicate what nationality the bandit is nor is this cute rhyming name for a food truck offensive to anyone I know. I ate a veggie burrito bowl there today and it was quite good. I am quite politically sensitive and I don’t find this cute rhyming name offensive in the slightest.


    1. sandi April 9, 2021 4:44 pm Reply

      I’m not sure why so many are weakened by being so easily offended in this day and age. Yes, all people should be respected. But it’s just ridiculous and I for one, will not become offended nor be afraid to speak out worrying about offending someone who does something wrong. I will patronize Bandittos Burritos and refer them to all I know if there food is good. Not because of a name. I’m just tired of this way of life and all the haters out there. I’m tired of those that won’t get vaccinated and causing us all to lose money as this jewelry business had to do. I WISH THEM THE VERY BEST!


  3. Kaaona Kipuka April 9, 2021 3:20 pm Reply

    I’m calling it today 04/09/2021!!! This will be the next food establishment to close. What an absolute let down. There’s four things on the menu, ran out of a bunch of stuff already at a little after lunch… Not impressed at all… The way TGI hyped this place up was like it was a “Mexican” food truck in either LA or San Diego….No one was there. Just “blah”… no other way to put it….Just saying…. ;(


  4. kauaiman April 9, 2021 4:52 pm Reply

    Of course there’s always social justice warriors, who have to chime in and protect the great people from the horrible mean words directed towards them(who probably aren’t Mexican and have never stepped foot in Mexico in their life). Thank you for your service we would be lost without you.

    Maybe we should cancel taco bell too! I find the word bell very offensive to my culture because we never had bells where im from! Also da crack is offensive too, how can they use crack, a very harmful drug, and make a name out of it?! Disgrace to all crack users….


  5. Doug April 11, 2021 9:09 am Reply

    Kudos to someone who, instead of whining about being shut down and sitting on their rear ends, adapted and changed their business model to one that doesn’t rely 100% on tourists! They should do well and I definitely will try them out. And as to the running out of food comment, I saw this in other restaurants as well last week as food demand exploded when the infected mainlanders started flooding in (been in Kapaa traffic lately?). They will adapt and prosper!


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