Popular Local Mexican Food Restaurant Opens at Trinity University

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Sep. 19, 2013

Popular Local Mexican Food Restaurant Opens at Trinity University

Festive grand opening draws crowd eager to sample dishes from Taco Taco Café

Trinity President Dennis A. Ahlburg (second from left) joins Taco Taco owner Helen Velesiotis for a ribbon cutting for the grand opening. Dean of Students David Tuttle (left) and ARAMARK Food Service Director Miguel Ardid (right) look on.

By Miriam Sitz '10

SAN ANTONIO - In the midst of the bustling University Commons, a familiar and mouth-watering sight greeted students this fall: Taco Taco Café. The highly lauded restaurant has served award-winning tacos in San Antonio for more than 14 years. Now, hungry Trinity University students can get their Taco Taco fix without ever leaving campus.

"We knew we wanted a Mexican food concept up at the Commons," said Miguel Ardid, director of dining services for ARAMARK. After considering several options, Dean of Students David Tuttle asked, "Why not make it one that's local and popular?" Taco Taco, a student and San Antonio favorite, emerged as the obvious choice. "It's particularly meaningful because it is supporting local business," said University president Dennis A. Ahlburg.

Taco Taco staff give out free food to Trinity students, faculty and staff. The event also featured mariachi music and other giveaways.

The owner of Taco Taco, Helen Velesiotis, jumped at the opportunity to open a location on campus. "I'm going to do everything in my power to keep you happy and give you the best fresh, good, homemade food that I can make with my own hands," she said to the crowd that gathered at the Sept. 18 festive ribbon cutting ceremony, complete with singing by the male a cappella group, the Trinitones, and a mariachi band.

Velesiotis and her son, Dimitri Velesiotis, have come to campus daily since the restaurant's Aug. 26 opening. "Helen trained staff to make sure that we have the same flavor profiles and same delivery," explained Ardid. ARAMARK staff use Velesiotis' recipes and even the same brands of ingredients. Her tortilla recipe, however, she keeps close. "It's a secret," she said, "because it's the best!"

Taco Taco in the Commons serves students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Depending on demand, the administration may add late night or weekend options. Students can purchase the authentic Tex-Mex fare with meal plan "Bonus Bucks," Tiger Bucks, cash, or credit, and prices reflect those of the Hildebrand store location.

And the student response? "It's all been really positive," said Tuttle, "everything I've heard."

J.P. Sanchez, a junior marketing major, frequented the Hildebrand location of Taco Taco and was thrilled to see it open on campus. "It's really convenient here. It's perfect." Sophomore Cori Whang, an accounting and computer science double major, showed enthusiasm as she waited for her lunch, saying, "I come here almost every day!"

Miriam Sitz is a freelance writer in San Antonio. A graduate of Trinity University in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and environmental studies, she blogs on Miriam210.com and sells handmade goods on TinderboxGoods.com. Follow her on Twitter at @miriamsitz.