I was born in Jalisco, Mexico. My parents were farmers and didn’t have much education, so they brought my siblings and me to the U.S. in 1996 in search of a better life with more opportunities. I was 14 years old when we arrived in Denver and I started as a freshman at North High School. In addition to not knowing English, I also hadn’t been in school since 6th grade in Mexico, so I struggled a lot when I started school in the U.S. But I loved math and I studied really hard and ended up graduating from high school with honors and went on to earn a degree in Finance from Metro State University.
I always knew I wanted to have my own business, but I wasn’t exactly sure what type of business it would be. But after a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2005, where I tried the best food ever at a small taco cart, I knew I had to bring that unique, traditional cuisine back to Colorado.
I started Mega Burger as a family-run business with my wife and mother in 2006, which focused on Mexican burgers. However, over the years I transitioned to a menu focused on a mix of Oaxaca/Mexico City/Guadalajara style tacos and officially changed our name to Taco Block in 2017. The name was inspired by the shipping container we turned into our food kiosk in Denver’s Athmar Park neighborhood. Unfortunately, the kiosk is currently closed while we try to resolve some zoning issues with the city, but we are still operating as a full-service catering company and hope to reopen the kiosk soon.
I came to Mi Casa Resource Center in 2018 for a QuickBooks class and then enrolled in the first cohort of La Receta in 2019. I learned a lot in this class about market research and food costing. I also received my ServSafe certification and was connected with a wonderful mentor, Lorena Cantarovici of Maria Empanada, who shared her years of experience with me.
The class also challenged me as I prepared for the final tasting event. And all my hard work paid off – I came in first place at the Taste of La Receta competition! I am planning to use the $5,000 award money towards the purchase of another truck for catering, so I can better keep up with demand, including the new clients I connected with at the event.
Honestly, I wish I had come to Mi Casa so much sooner because I’ve learned more in a short time here than I did in 12 years of running my business. I’ve had a lot of success with Taco Block, but I could have saved so much time and so many headaches if I had accessed the resources at Mi Casa when I was first starting out. I can’t wait to use these new skills – and the prize money from Taste of La Receta – to continue to grow my business!