ST. PETERSBURG — The moment St. Petersburg foodies have been waiting for is almost here: The Taco Bus opens Monday.
Delayed for months, the first St. Petersburg outlet of the popular Tampa taqueria announced on its Facebook page Thursday that it passed its final inspection and will open at 11 a.m. Monday at 2324 Central Ave.
"Thanks to all our wonderful customers for your patience!'' wrote Taco Bus owner Rene Valenzuela.
Valentine's Day seems appropriate, as so many people love the bus. Like the original location, all the food will be prepared in a bus (though the St. Petersburg version looks more like a panel truck).
But unlike the Tampa location, the new restaurant will have ample parking.
"We have a lot of people who drive all the way from St. Pete to Tampa and they always ask me when I'm going to open in St. Petersburg,'' Valenzuela told the St. Petersburg Times in November. "Finally I got a good answer for them."
The new restaurant, on a former used car lot in the Grand Central District on the edge of Historic Kenwood, eventually will be open 24 hours a day, Valenzuela said. It will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.
Valenzuela said he was disappointed with the delay but encouraged by the response. "It's the first time in my entire life that before I open, people are so excited and waiting for us,'' he said last month.