El Taccoriendo welcomes new customers, food trucks to brick-and-mortar location

Mexican+food+truck+El+Tacorriendo+is+looking+to+expand+business+by+offering+food+and+merchanise+in+Blowing+Rock%27s+newest+Mexican+goods+store%2C+El+Barrio.+Owners+Alejandro+and+Ashley+Leon+felt+that+the+High+Country+was+lacking+a+source+of+authentic+Mexican+cuisine+and+opened+El+Tacorriendo+in+2016.

Becca Bridges

Mexican food truck El Tacorriendo is looking to expand business by offering food and merchanise in Blowing Rock’s newest Mexican goods store, El Barrio. Owners Alejandro and Ashley Leon felt that the High Country was lacking a source of authentic Mexican cuisine and opened El Tacorriendo in 2016.

Camryn Collier, A&C Reporter

As El Tacorriendo customers brave colder temperatures to wait in line for authentic Mexican street food, owners Alejandro and Ashley Leon look to attract new customers with a new Mexican goods store, El Barrio. 

Located at 415 Blowing Rock Rd., El Barrio Mexican Goods will serve as an extension of the food truck with seating and merchandise, along with Mexican snacks, breads, beers, sodas and fresh fruit waters, Ashley Leon said. 

“I was born in North Carolina, so I didn’t grow up with this stuff before,” Ashley Leon said. “Having tried it now, I love it, and it’s delicious, and I’m glad that I have had that exposure to it. I think that anyone in the Boone area that comes to try it is going to be in love with it as I am.” 

The couple started El Tacorriendo in 2016 after recognizing a lack of authentic Mexican food in the High Country. 

“We used to enjoy coming up to Boone with our kids on the weekend to go shopping,” Ashley Leon said. “We saw a lot of the community, and that there weren’t a lot of authentic Mexican places here. We thought bringing our food truck (to Boone) would be a different experience for everyone.”

Alejandro and Ashley Leon are hoping to open El Barrio in mid-to-late February after finishing updating, painting and remodeling. They started leasing the brick-and-mortar building in November 2019, Ashley Leon said. 

“We redid some tiles in the bathroom to modernize and give it better aesthetics,” Ashley Leon said. 

Before settling at the new location, El Tacorriendo could be seen parking around Boone in locations like King and Howard streets. Over the years, parking was often difficult to find, Ashley Leon said. 

Wanting to make the parking process easier for others, El Barrio will offer parking to other local food trucks when El Tacorriendo is not there. 

We saw a lot of the community, and that there weren’t a lot of authentic Mexican places here. We thought bringing our food truck (to Boone) would be a different experience for everyone.”

— Ashley Leon

Kalman’s Bon Appetit, another food truck in the High Country, has already been invited to the spot. 

“It’s tough to find spots in Boone,” Julius Kalman, owner of Kalman’s Bon Appetit, said. “When I first got my truck and first opened, I did an event at the snowboard shop Recess, and it got crazy crowded. It was packed and caused a traffic jam.”

It’s important to have these accessible spots close to campus for students who may not have transportation, Kalman said.

Jalyce Norman, a junior exercise science major, is a frequent customer at El Tacorriendo. She said El Barrio’s extra seating is the “best idea ever,” but transferring the clientele from the truck to the store may be hard.

 “It’s a little touchy,” Norman said. “Some people do not want to get out of their comfort zones, but once people take that jump, they could enjoy it a lot, and it could be really beneficial.”

 Ashley Leon said the new store is receiving good feedback on social media, and hopes  El Barrio will benefit everyone in Boone, especially the Hispanic community, with the new location.  

“In our new spot we have (already) seen an increase in the Hispanic clientele,” Ashley Leon said. “I hope with this store we are going to bring things that they are looking for in the Boone area that they hadn’t been able to find previously.”