Taco Bus opening fifth location in Brandon

Taco Bus owner Rene Valenzuela started with a street-corner taco stand when he was a teenager in Mexico. “When people complimented me on my food, I knew this would be my life’s work.”
Taco Bus owner Rene Valenzuela started with a street-corner taco stand when he was a teenager in Mexico. “When people complimented me on my food, I knew this would be my life’s work.”
Published Dec. 13, 2012

BRANDON — It's perhaps Tampa's most famous restaurant, and now it's coming to Brandon.

Taco Bus, a Mexican restaurant that has become a Tampa institution in just 10 years, has been featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network and Adam Richman's Man Vs. Food on the Travel Channel.

Owner Rene Valenzuela said the fifth Taco Bus restaurant will open on Falkenburg Road just north of Adamo Drive in spring of 2013.

The Brandon location will be the largest of all the Taco Bus restaurants, with seating for about 100 people inside and another 40 outside.

But otherwise, it will feature the same formula that has made the original Taco Bus in Seminole Heights such a hit. It will have the same menu and the same prices, and will offer a choice of carry-out service from a bus window or sit-down full-service dining inside.

And it will be open all night Thursdays through Sunday — in other words it will be open nonstop from 11 a.m Thursday until 10 p.m. Sunday (11 a.m. until 10 p.m. other days).

Valenzuela started in the food business when he was a teenager in Mexico. He set up a taco stand on street corner.

"When people complimented me on my food, I knew this would be my life's work," he said. "When people enjoyed my food, that was the most wonderful feeling, like an artists getting applause."

His cousin actually opened the original Taco Bus. It had a different name, a Spanish name that wasn't easy for some English speakers, so people started calling it Taco Bus. When Valenzuela bought the restaurant, he made Taco Bus the official name. He has since opened locations in St. Petersburg, North Tampa and downtown Tampa. He plans to open one a year. He owns all the restaurants himself, so he can expand the way a franchise operation could.

One thing that sets Taco Bus apart from other Mexican restaurants, in addition to 24-hour dining on weekends, is an extensive selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. That's something the Brandon area doesn't have enough of, Valenzuela said, and he expects people who seek out those kinds of items will be especially excited about Taco Bus coming to the area.

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Salon Roxy committed to nothing but hair

VALRICO — Trent Day grew up in family of hair stylists, and spent many years as the artistic director for Scruples, a company that manufactures and markets hair products. One of his duties was to help develop products.

So he knows hair. Now Day has opened a salon called Salon Roxy, in an old Blockbuster Video building at 3305 Lithia-Pinecrest Road.

It's a spacious, upscale location with eight stations for stylists and a full color bar that seats six.

"It's hair and only hair," Day said. "We don't do manicures or anything like that, just hair."

Day said that one comment hair stylists constantly hear from clients is that their hair looks great when they leave the salon, but when the clients get home they can never achieve the same look.

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After the new year, Salon Roxy will have clinics that will offer clients tips on how to maintain their styles.

Salon Roxy is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday, noon until 7 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. Call (813) 324-8817 or visit

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