It was the first Tampa Bay food truck to be known nationally.
The original outpost, a school-bus-turned-restaurant in Seminole Heights, was actually called El Taconazo but known affectionately in the neighborhood as Taco Bus. It even predated longtime owner Rene Valenzuela, who bought it from Roberto and Monica Morfin in 2007. But it is Valenzuela who has expanded and expanded again, announcing on Wednesday the debut of four new locations as well as a new state-of-the-art ordering system and drive-thru options.
Taco Bus will soon be rolling into Treasure Island, Lutz, Clearwater and an unspecified location on US 19.
Taco Bus currently has eight locations in Tampa, Lakeland, St. Pete and Brandon, a including 24-hour restaurant. In May, it opened a location in Miami near Florida International University, the first outside the Tampa Bay area. Taco Bus aims to join the list of notable Florida-based chains such as Outback Steakhouse and Hooters, expanding throughout Florida and beyond.
Taco Bus has been featured nationally by Buzzfeed, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and numerous other publications and food shows, largely on the strength of its traditional recipes from every region of Mexico. Taco Bus has achieved cult status locally because of its late hours, affordable prices and vegetarian and vegan options.
Valenzuela and team have also focused in on the changing nature of ordering: On Wednesday they announced they have partnered with NCR to offer customers the latest technologies, including a modernized kiosk-ordering system within the stores. The location at 301 S Falkenburg Road in Brandon currently features the first kiosk of its kind in the state of Florida, and a new mobile ordering system allows customers to order on the go.
Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.