Torchy’s El Paso Meets El Presidente!

Taco Junkie Testimonials – Torchy’s S 1st at El Paso Meets POTUS

When the POTUS comes to town, it’s a big deal!  We learned this first hand last month, when the streets of Austin shut down, and President Obama made a stop at our humble South 1st Street storefront during SXSW.  We caught up with a few of our staff at this neighborhood hot spot (known simply as “El Paso” among employees) to hear more about how the big moment went down.  


Torchy: Thanks for sitting down to chat! First off, let’s introduce these guys:

Lindsay “Z” Curtis started with the company in Houston about three years ago, and is currently rocking as an Assistant Manager at Torchy’s S. 1st at El Paso. Shout out to Z for holding down the fort on a big day for her store! In only 8 months with Torchy’s, Aaron Sego has made a big splash as a cashier, both for his excellent customer service and, as of late, for his most famous customer.

Torchy: Did y’all have any idea he was coming to your store?

Z:  With very minimal warning…

Aaron: Maaaaaybe 20 – 30 minutes…

The President’s security and entourage arrived and secured the store a little bit before Obama showed up with Mayor Adler. The whole place was kind of on lockdown, with every entrance guarded, and phones or photos prohibited until after he arrived. They passed through the whole store with dogs and flashlights, and although guests were offered an opportunity to leave the premises, no one wanted to go!  

Torchy: What was your first impression of President Obama?

Aaron: I just thought it was awesome to see him walking in, and everyone cheering. Obviously, there was a lot of excitement and nerves…

Z:  He made everyone feel very comfortable – especially when he gave a hug to a customer who actually lives in the neighborhood. We weren’t expecting that.

Aaron: Yeah, that was the moment that kinda made everyone relax. After that he talked to every guest in the entire restaurant, both inside and outside.

Torchy: Be honest – was it the most nerve-racking order you’ve ever handled???

Z:  The security guys were standing over our grill cooks watching them prepare the order…obviously we were all super careful – but they definitely weren’t gonna let anything happen either! So we were covered on that.

mario_aaronTorchy: Were y’all happy with his order?

Aaron: Absolutely! Although I was very tempted to offer him my personal favorite taco, which I think should be named the Bearded Rainbow Ninja, by the way. It is a Jack of Clubs, minus the sour cream and cheese, and add pickled onions. Scrumptious!

FYI, POTUS ordered a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent, plus a Green Chile Pork and a Monk Special for some of his crew. Side note: Aaron and Z happened to recognize a few people from the President’s entourage who had been in a few days earlier to eat and get take-away menus…perhaps the clever order was planned? Oh, and for anyone who was worried – including us – even though he didn’t ask for it, our sly staff made sure President Obama had some of our famous Green Chile Queso & Chips to sample. Killer job, guys!!

Torchy:  What has the customer response been like?

Z: It’s been crazy…

Aaron: Insane! It’s still going on today. This spot has a very close-knit, neighborhood feel. Our patrons think of it as “our Torchy’s” so they were happy about it too.

Aaron says that people recognize him around town as “the guy who served Obama” even when he’s nowhere near Torchy’s. 

Torchy:  How about the rest of the staff – is everyone still feeling “the Tacobama effect”?

Z: There was a lot of pride in the fact that the President came to OUR Torchy’s. Out of all nearly 40 stores, and with multiple locations in this area of Austin – they came to us. So yeah, we liked that!

Torchy: How long did you wait to wash your hand after shaking hands with the President??

Aaron:  I haven’t washed it still…

Just kidding!!! We ARE in food service, after all.  However, he did keep the original receipt, as well as the $20 used for a tip (as some news outlets speculated, Obama paid in cash with a $20 and tipped another $20). The staff printed out extra copies of the receipt for everyone to keep, and of course, the memory lives forever. 

There you have it, friends. Exciting things happen in tacoland! If you’d like to be a part of a buzzworthy concept, check us out at torchystacos.com/careers today!


Thanks again to Z and Aaron for filling us in on the details. Y’all are awesome!