A Judge Ruled Tacos Are Sandwiches — Here's Why That Matters

Though this ruling can feel deeply unserious, it has major consequences for one small business.

<p>hayaship / Getty Images</p>

hayaship / Getty Images

What, exactly, defines a sandwich? It's a question people have been arguing over since the dawn of time. But, at least according to one Indiana judge, tacos fall into whatever that definition may be.

In May, Allen County Superior Court Judge Craig Bobay ruled that "tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches." Though this ruling can feel deeply unserious, it has major consequences for one small business that was hoping to open a restaurant in the city of Fort Wayne.

As the Associated Press reported, the legal battle was brought to the courts by Martin Quintana, nearly three years ago after he attempted to open a second location for his restaurant The Famous Taco. However, his plans were thwarted due to the fact that he agreed to a written commitment with the local neighborhood association that limited the space to a restaurant that is "a sandwich bar-style restaurant whose primary business is to sell 'made-to-order' or 'subway-style' sandwiches," the AP reported. And Quintana's taco spot, to the association, didn't fit the bill. He asked for the agreement to be amended to include his made-to-order tacos, burritos, and "Mexican-style food items," which they denied. So, in 2022, Quintana sued the Fort Wayne Plan Commission, and the court finally ruled in his favor last week.

Related: Crispy Pork Belly Tacos with Pico de Gallo

Interestingly, Judge Bobay added that the plan commission was in the right to deny an amendment, but the request was never needed in the first place, as tacos are sandwiches anyway, the Journal Gazette reported.

"The Court agrees with Quintana that tacos and burritos are Mexican-style sandwiches, and the original Written Commitment does not restrict potential restaurants to only American cuisine-style sandwiches," the ruling read.

"I'm glad this thing is over. We are happy. When you have a decision like this the only thing you can be is happy. We're excited," Quintana told the AP about the ruling.

Related: The Best Wines to Pair with Fish Tacos

The original agreement, the Gazette added, already permitted restaurants that served "made-to-order Greek gyros, Indian naan wraps, or Vietnamese banh mi" if they complied with the other conditions in the agreement, so we can safely assume those were considered sandwiches, too.

So, what else is a sandwich? Well, even we wouldn't dare to draw a boundary. After all, Padma Lakshmi and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg both said hot dogs are sandwiches, and who would argue with them? So, really, a sandwich is as limitless as your imagination.

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