South Philadelphia: A Taco Truck Attracts Diverse Group of Customers

Mike Sinclair paid for his order as Martinez's young son peaked out of the food truck's window.

“Want more hot sauce?” Nestor Morales asked. “The green one is really hot.”

Morales, a repeat customer, ate his chicken tacos from the metal ledge built along the side of the Taco Loco food truck at Fourth Street and Washington Avenue.

A new customer, Mike Sinclair, tried the beef tacos and had no complaints.

“I’d been meaning to try it,” he said, “I see it when I ride on Washington [Avenue].”

Mike Sinclair paid for his order as Martinez's young son peeked out of the food truck's window.

Juan Carlos Alvarez Martinez, an immigrant from Puebla, Mexico, opened the authentic Mexican food truck three and a half years ago. After working in the food industry in Conshohocken for 12 years, Martinez wanted to do things his own way. He bought a trailer with a friend and began to make it his own. He doesn’t have to pay rent, which helps, but he does pay to keep his license and permit updated.

“It wasn’t ready for one year,” Martinez said. “I didn’t have enough money [right away] for buying all the stuff.”

Now, Martinez said the trailer is doing well and supports his entire family, his wife and four kids. The busy summer months make up for the lull during the winter. The two youngest kids stuck their heads out the front window, making faces at the customers. Along with their mom, they spend their days in the trailer fully equipped with a television. Recently, Martinez opened another food truck in Snyder Plaza also located in South Philadelphia.

Taco Loco doesn’t only attract Mexican Americans with their authentic cuisine.

“I get customers from around the world,” Martinez said, chuckling. His wife walked behind him carrying one of their children. Instead of working for someone, Martinez found a way to support his family and spend time with them by starting his own business.

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