How an idea turned into the food truck, Tacos El Gusano
With one food truck, Mexican culture is shared to many through authentic cuisine.
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The love of tacos started a dedication to bringing the Mexican flavor to people through a food truck named "Tacos El Gusano."
Tacos El Gusano started in a garage and has been running for 10 years.
"When we started, we didn't know much about what we had to do. We also didn't know what we wanted to do when considering running a business. It was also not easy because we had no translators or people who could help us. Yet with time, we learned and met people and my husband said he wanted to do something that could be done quickly. The reason why we only sell tacos and quesadillas. Proof that anything is possible," Salad Chef Maria Felicitas said in an interview with AL DÍA.
Not knowing English was not the only difficulty for Tacos El Gusano. Felicitas' husband traveled to Massachusetts to buy a food truck. The long trip was because there were no food trucks of the size or price they wanted locally in the suburban areas of Chester County.
Felicita said that traveling to buy their poultry could be easier if they did not travel to Philadelphia from the suburbs. "We go to the Philadelphia restaurant Depot because that is the only place the Secretary of Health allows us to buy what we need. You can't go to your nearest grocery store for poultry purchases," Felicitas said.
Tacos El Gusanos operates off calls and requests for catering opportunities for events.
"Many of the clients and customers we serve are people who don't know how to cook Mexican food," Felicitas said. "We have traveled far but almost all events are local. We receive calls once or every two weeks and usually serve 50 to 300 people, the maximum."
Felicitas takes care of vegetables and the drinks they offer, such as agua de jamaica, agua de horchata and whatever else they provide at events. Her husband, Ulfrano Arteaga, takes care of the meat and makes the tacos with their son, Brandon Arteaga.
Their son learned to make tacos from trips to México.
"I am glad to provide food and always make people happy. I love tacos, so I love seeing people love the food I make," Chef Brandon Arteaga said.
Felicitas noted that everything is done the same day of the event to be fresh and their food is all-natural, even the salt they use.
Chef Ulfrano Arteaga noted that sharing his “culture on a plate” makes him very happy and he loves the work he, his wife and his son have done.
The family understands that poultry prices are above average and makes sure to price food at a manageable cost for their customers. Pork and chicken tacos and quesadillas are their most sold and popular dishes.
Food not sold is given away, eaten within days or disposed of properly. Felicitas says they must follow health department rules and keep their refrigerators clean.
"We dispose of all the food in some way. We don't want inspectors to come to our homes and think that what is in our fridges will be used to sell. If we buy poultry for ourselves, we eat it like what's left from the business, within days," Felicitas said.
Tacos El Gusano has its name because the family wanted to be original.
"Most Mexican restaurants use last names or Mexican state names. My husband and I are originally from Queretaro, México. So we named the food after the maguey worm. Something popular in central México," Felicitas said.
The family is content with maintaining its business through its food truck with no immediate plans to open a restaurant, noting reasons such as more freedom and flexibility.
Nonetheless, Tacos El Gusano will continue to serve its purpose in helping them continue connecting to their Mexican roots while sharing their culture with the Mexican, Mexican-American and non-Mexican communities throughout Phoenixville and its surrounding areas.
*definition of gusano, agua de jamaica, agua de horchata, "bug, hibiscus water and rice water"*