How long have you been running the food truck?
We have been in business for two years now.
Where did the inspiration come from for the taco truck?
My family, going back to my great-grandfather’s, have always been in the Mexican restaurant business. That is where I get it.
Can you tell me about yourself?
I was born in Arizona and raised in Fresno, California. I moved to San Diego, (California), when I was in high school. I moved to Vegas when I graduated and did all the chef stuff in Vegas. Now I live here in Tennessee.
What brought you to Johnson City, Tennessee?
My parents moved out here. My dad is going for is doctorate, and this is where he got accepted.
What has been the best part of living in Johnson City?
Honestly, just the really laid back way it is here. It is not really busy. It is not like a huge city. There is not a big bustle of people everywhere you go, it is just laid back. I really enjoy that lifestyle.
Can you tell me about your taco truck?
Yeah, it is called Let’s Taco ‘Bout It. I try to aim at very authentic street tacos that you might find if you were just getting something from a vendor on the streets of Mexico. Tijuana, (Mexico), is where I was introduced to most of this street food from Mexico. That is about as far as I ventured in most of the time. That is what I focus around most of the time. I also bought in some of my family’s recipes: the rice, the beans, carnitas and stuff like that.
What was your experience in the restaurant business before?
I was working in restaurant business when I was 12 years old; back of the house, front of the house, everything. I went to culinary school and graduated. Then I was a chef in Las Vegas for six years just before I moved here.
How has it been the last two years running your own business?
Well, at first it is scary. There is a lot of financial turmoil involved. It is slow at first, you have to build your clientele, and you have to build your reputation up for having good food and cheap prices. At first it was hard but it is steadily getting better and better every month I think.
What has been the most challenging part?
Definitely opening. When I first bought the truck it didn’t have anything in it. I had to put all this stuff in here and figure out where it goes. Figure out the layout and figure out how to power every thing. After that it was smooth sails.
What is harder, cooking the food, dealing with customers or the business/bookkeeping side?
I strictly deal with cooking and customers. My wonderful wife Jenny, she does all the paperwork, all the business side. From what I can tell it is very difficult so I would probably say she has the more difficult job, but don’t print that! (Laughs)
What is your favorite part about ruing Let’s Taco ‘Bout It?
Definitely meeting everybody, all the new people, the fine small-business owners around that let me kind of join with them and try to make some money here in Johnson City and the Tri-Cities area. All the little breweries, Depot Street, Atlantic Ale House (taproom), JRH, Sleepy Owl out in Kingsport, High Voltage. All these places are really really cool and all the owners; it has been a pleasure to get to know them.
How did you build that rapport?
It was actually very easy to go into a business and ask them if they were interested in having a food truck sit out in there parking lot. Most of the time they were very into it. I thought it was going to be difficult when I first started but it was easy.
This is what one customer; Austin Poole had to say.
“First off, I know from talking to him that he is trained out in Vegas,” said Austin Poole. “He is a culinary you know, he is not just like another dude that bought a taco truck. They are also good, but he, he knows how to cook and tweak anything it is awesome; by far the best taco truck that you are going to find around here. It is fantastic man. That is what I tell people, it is authentic. I was stationed out in California, and it is the closest to real thing you are going to get around here to authentic Mexican food.”
How many times have you eaten at Let’s Taco ‘Bout It?
“Oh man, Julian might be able to answer that better than I can, but I would say probably 12 to 15 times.”
Did you know Julian before?
“No, just met him here at the truck.”
To find out where Let’s Taco ‘Bout It will be next check out @letstacoboutit17 on Instagram and Facebook.
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