Hispanic and Latin cuisines have long inspired our menu at Taco Bell and the Southern California community around us. So, we’re providing resources to help local food vendors and their flavorful aspirations thrive.
We at Taco Bell are lucky to call sunny southern California our home, from our very first location in Downey to our current headquarters in Irvine. And we’re part of a bustling food scene unlike any other. That culinary hotspot includes heavy influence from Latin American cultures—which continue inspiring our own menu—and are often shared with the community via thousands of street vendors. From tamales and elote to tacos and pupusas, street vendors are a SoCal staple for locals and tourists alike. They embody Taco Bell’s entrepreneurial mindset, enthusiastically cooking up both authentic and fusion cuisine.
Although these passionate small business owners are essential to the community, they often face challenges like permitting issues, equipment access, financial barriers and even street harassment. Since Taco Bell’s start, we’ve believed that there should be no limitations when it comes to making, selling, eating or celebrating tacos—or any food for that matter. Earlier this year, we boldly set out to give Taco Tuesday back to the people, so that everyone can freely celebrate Taco Tuesday. As we continue to support taco culture and those that inspire and embolden it, we’re acting to help break down barriers when it comes to serving tacos and other Hispanic and Latin cuisines on Taco Tuesdays starting next month until the end of the year. As part of these efforts, we’ll be teaming up with local organization Revolution Carts on their program to give street-legal carts to 20 deserving entrepreneurs, and bringing the beloved Ave 26 Family Night Market back to the heart of Los Angeles as a pop-up on select Tuesdays.
We are thrilled to partner with an organization that was founded to address the challenges street vendors constantly face and give purveyors of all things delicious the best opportunities to thrive. Each of the 20 carts that Taco Bell and Revolution Carts are distributing will be health permit compliant and customized to reflect the style and spirit of their future owners. The carts will be placed strategically, taking into account the vendors’ operations and driving foot traffic. This partnership will enable the vendors to be the best they can be, and empower them to bring taco culture, and their entrepreneurial spirit, to more people.
“There are times when others come into your path to help you realize your dream—Taco Bell and Revolution Carts were just that,” said Karen and Randy Garcia, owners of House of Masa. “This cart will help our family expand our passion and love to bring people together through our food to our community and beyond. We appreciate the support in making our dreams become a reality.”
Taco Bell is also stepping up to support this community by helping to bring the locally iconic Ave 26 Family Night Market back to Los Angeles this fall. The night market, which originally started in Lincoln Heights as an opportunity to provide vendors a location to serve their unique culinary creations and make a living, was required to relocate in 2021 and, with determination and support from the community, found a home at the Pico Rivera Sports Arena. However, starting in November, Ave 26 will return to the Arts District of downtown LA at the corner of 5th Ave and Colyton St. for six consecutive weeks, on Taco Tuesdays, as a haven for street food vendors and a joyous communal gathering place.
The first Revolution Carts will be distributed at the Ave 26 Family Night Market event in Pico Rivera on October 28, where recipients will get to share their inspiring stories with the community. Taco Bell will continue to give Revolution Carts away on Tuesdays in various parts of Southern California to lucky recipients for the remainder of the year.
“Street vending is one of those things that makes the greater Los Angeles area so unique,” said Richard Gomez, Chief Engineer at Revolution Carts. “It’s one of the most accessible entry points for aspiring food entrepreneurs, yet many people don’t realize the significant obstacles that vendors face throughout that process. We’re proud to team up with Taco Bell to do our part in trying to remedy these issues by supplying vendors with the proper equipment and fundamentals for long-term success.”
This initiative is the latest in continued efforts to contribute to bettering the SoCal community we call home. As dedicated neighbors, Taco Bell and the Taco Bell Foundation take pride in local partnerships, such as the ones we’ve forged with Bracken’s Kitchen, Working Wardrobes, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, and Bridge Builder Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast.
Meet the First Taco Bell x Revolution Carts Recipients
These impressive entrepreneurs were selected because of their business ambitions, community connectivity and delicious creativity—pursuits that Taco Bell loves to champion.
The Basket Taco Co., led by Abraham and Karla Mota: This husband-and-wife duo are proudly bringing traditional Mexican tacos de canasta to SoCal. Their tacos are stuffed with sizzling chicharrón, refried beans and potatoes, then topped with fresh shredded cabbage and perfectly pickled veggies. As their business name indicates, the tacos are layered one on top of another in baskets, where warm steam creates delicately soft tortillas. The Motas have nurtured their business from a part-time venture to a full-time company including catering and charitable efforts, and now they hope to expand by bringing another entrepreneurial couple into their work.
Sammy’s Elotes y Más, led by Merced Cortés Sánchez: A seasoned street vendor with two decades of experience, Merced has actively collaborated with community leaders for the past ten years to advocate for improved vending legislation to support vendors. Despite once losing everything in a fire without insurance coverage, Sánchez has persisted in her efforts to bring about positive change in the vending industry. She adds flavors from her home state of Puebla to all of her dishes, with her specialty being delicious elotes and esquites, which include white corn, epazote herbs, mayonnaise, cotija cheese and dry chili. Her new cart will allow her to expand and make an even bigger impact in her community.
Martha’s Kitchen, led by Greysi Car: Greysi is a young, talented Ave 26 vendor known for her one-of-a-kind pupusas, a flatbread-like corn tortilla stuffed with goodness. She has dedicated herself to spreading community joy through her love of food. Her pupusas recipe was passed down by her mom, which includes home-cooked pork seasoned just right, and beans mixed in with her family-favorite mozzarella cheese. A 21-year-old college student pursuing a degree in criminal justice, she hopes to finance her education with the support of her new food cart.
House of Masa, led by Karen and Randy Garcia: The Garcias are dedicated to fostering a sense of community unity by sharing authentic Latin food. Their fresh tamales are unlike any other, using a long-time family recipe that represents their history. Generously filled, their tamales are loaded with tri-tip beef marinated in a savory secret red sauce, resulting in regalitos (gifts) wrapped with love for hungry customers to unwrap with delight. The duo has built a loyal following, but their new cart will help them scale.
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About Revolution Carts
Revolution Carts was started by LA local industry professionals who saw the need for street vendors to get health permit compliant vending carts. With over 30 years of advocacy and engineering experience, the team put together the first Los Angeles County Health Department approved prepackaged tamale cart for vendors who wanted the opportunity to vend in high traffic areas with the LA City Sidewalk Vending Permit. Its first cart, “The Tamalero,” is a lightweight, low cost cart with very minimal operational and maintenance costs.
Revolution Carts believes that providing carts for vendors is only the first step in the vending cycle. Partnering with educators, lenders, food distributors and technology solutions, they plan to provide resources for vendors to help guide them through to a successful operation and join the formal economy. With more cart designs on the way for 2024, including a first of its kind sidewalk permitted grill cart, Revolution Carts is looking forward to creating endless opportunities for the everyday vendor.