After a decade of perfecting his culinary skills, Rogelio Muñoz took an unusual approach to opening a business in Isla Vista; rather than operating a business out of one permanent location, Muñoz opens his stand, known as Roger’s Tacos, at various locations along Del Playa Drive on Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week.
Muñoz, who is originally from Tlaxcala, Mexico, charges $1.50 for tacos and $6 for quesadillas. For any house that is willing to host his stand, Muñoz offers 50 free tacos in exchange for use of the venue.
He estimates that he serves around 100 customers each day his stand is open, totaling an approximate 600 tacos in addition to the numerous quesadillas and mulitas. He works the stand along with his nephew and his friend, preferring to maintain a small team in order to ensure quality of the food he serves and to build close relationships with his customers, he told the Nexus.
“I think food in Isla Vista is expensive. When the food and rent costs so much, the students are unhappy. I believe we are helping students by offering our tacos,” Muñoz said.
He initially learned how to cook while employed at a food truck in Long Beach called Los Tres Garcias, working as a chef there for two years before moving to a restaurant in Gardena, California, called El Antojito Tacos y Mariscos, where he stayed for another six years.
After moving to the Santa Barbara area, Muñoz briefly worked at the Subway in UC Santa Barbara’s Arbor. Muñoz explained that his dream is to eventually relocate his taco stand to the Arbor – as a small indoor eatery or a permanent food stall, much like Die Bretzel or Woodstock’s – in order to better serve the students and connect with more customers.
Photos taken at one of Muñoz’s set ups on Del Playa Drive can be viewed below: