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Taco Bus rides on success

12:35 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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  • "The economy has been one of those factors because we are in the lower bracket meaning an inexpensive food and so that's been good for us right now," explains Taco Bus owner Chef Rene Valenzuela of his success despite hard times in the economy.
    
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Tampa, Florida -- The Taco Bus has been a part of the Tampa Bay community for 20 years, serving hungry customers at all hours of the day -- from the typical lunch crowd, the 3 a.m. club crowd, to those on the overnight shift.

It all started on the streets of Mexico many years ago when Chef Rene Valenzuela was just a middle schooler selling taquitos from a street stand.

"And then in high school it was a little taco stand, that looks like a hot dog stand, but it's only tacos and then in college, a little restaurant," smiled Valenzuela.

When he came to the states, he says he didn't have the money for a bricks and mortar restaurant, so the Taco Bus was born at Hillsborough and Armenia.

Click: Taco Bus locations

From the beginning, his business model was simple: Offer good food at an affordable price.

"Number one is food because the food is delicious, but also it's very nutritious," said Valenzuela.

"For anybody out there, this is the place! I've been here for lunch and it's fantastic. Number one baby...wooohoo," smiled customer Vadia Bradford with a big thumbs up as she waited for her breakfast. 

While many businesses struggled during the economic slump over the last few years, Valenzuela found his business in a much different position In fact, instead of cutting back, he has been expanding.

"The economy has been one of those factors because we are in the lower bracket meaning an inexpensive food and so that's been good for us right now," he explained.

The food truck boom in the area has also helped with his success.

SEE ALSO: INSPECTION REPORTS: Check out your favorite restaurant or food truck

But, people also want a permanent location to go to. So after adding two permanently based locations at USF and downtown Tampa, he's bringing the Taco Bus to Brandon this spring in the area of Adamo and Falkenburg Road. It will be the 5th Bay area Taco Bus.

Photo Gallery: The Taco Bus comes to St. Petersburg
More Pictures: Inside the Taco Bus

"That's what I want to do. I want to bring the Taco Bus to more people," he said.

He says he plans to keep the Brandon location open all night Thursday through Sunday.

As long as the necessary ingredients are there -- demand for good food at an affordable price -- continued growth is always possible.

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