"The life path that got me here, well, basically, it's a family business," says Judy Espinoza, co-owner of the Taco Bliss food truck. "I was originally in health care, so entering the food industry was completely out of my life, it was so different."
Espinoza was born in Juárez, Mexico, and raised in Denver. Her father works in the commercial HVAC industry and installs a lot of systems in local restaurants. "He's always been involved in the industry, and I think he just wants a family business that we can run on our own once he retires," she says.
At one point, "my parents had the idea to open a family restaurant [in Springs, New Mexico], and I stuck with them," she explains. She originally went there just to support them, but she ultimately became the manager of Pancho's Mexican Restaurant. "I ended up just running the whole restaurant for them," she recalls. "I was with my boyfriend, Santiago Ramirez, and we ran the restaurant. I learned so much about the food industry, and I learned what it takes to run a small business."
But the timing of Espinoza's first family restaurant venture could not have been worse. "We opened in 2019, and two months later, COVID hit," she says. "We stuck with it for like a year and a half and tried to get through it, but it was tough. So we decided to close it up. It was a big restaurant, super cute, and I loved it. It would have been a hit. COVID just ruined everything."
To get the business going, her father helped her find a truck that was for sale. "It's not the newest truck, but I love it," Espinoza says. "It's my little ride-or-die, and it takes us everywhere. It's a good starter one."
The next step was landing on a name. "It was just a lot of back and forth. I had a few picked out, and then I asked my friends and family, 'What do you guys think of this one? What do you think of this?' I needed to know what appeals to people. I wanted it to sound fresh. I wanted a range of people to be like, 'Hey, this sounds awesome,'" Espinoza says.
On October 28, 2022, Espinoza and Ramirez officially launched Taco Bliss. While she primarily handles all of the business aspects of the truck, Ramirez is in charge of the cooking. "He was one of the cooks at Pancho's, and he jumped on board with the idea from the beginning. ... He's just such a good guy. It's a team effort, but he's the one that adds that special touch to everything," Espinoza says.
For both the street-style and grilled tacos, guests have a variety of options to choose from, including chicken, carne asada, al pastor, calabacitas (squash) or shrimp. In addition to the tacos, the team offers asada fries, quesadillas and churros.
Espinoza and Ramirez hope to open a restaurant one day, but they're happy to focus on the food truck for now. To find Taco Bliss, follow it on Instagram @tacobliss_ or find it on the Truckster app.