Who says you need a business plan to start a taco joint? With a head full of ideas and a slight ache from partying all summer, Michael Rypka left his fancy executive chef job to chase his dreams. He soon found them in Austin with a newly acquired food trailer and a red Vespa scooter. A house was mortgaged. Credit cards were maxed out. And in 2006, Torchy's Tacos opened on Bouldin Creek at South 1st.
Watching cars drive by, Mike realized he had bet his life savings on green chile pork and fajitas mixed with his own desire for some great street food. With no customers in sight, Mike hopped on his scooter and handed out free chips and his award-winning salsa to personally invite everyone to stop by the trailer for some tacos. It worked.
The first menu was filled more with experiments than meals. So whenever Mike heard his customers holler "damn these tacos are good!" they were added to the menu. Soon "Damn Good" became a rally cry at the trailer. The Taco Dream grew and took on a life of its own with long lines and happy customers.
Today Torchy's Tacos operate over 30 stores and a trailer park. They've won a bunch of cool awards and had write-ups and videos spread across the nation. You can still find that passion in the food at any Torchy's, and none of it would be possible without all the customers, employees, friends and fans that share in the Taco Dream.
The Torchy's Tacos Team — Mike, Jay, Farrell, Rebecca & Fonz
We're thankful for our success and the opportunity it gives us to give back. That's why we do our best to donate our tacos, time and treasure to worthy causes in the communities we serve.
We'd give to everyone if we could, but we focus our assistance in areas where our company founders are especially passionate: cancer research, childhood enrichment, and addiction recovery. In each of these categories, we're proud to corporately partner with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Make-A-Wish, and Phoenix House, respectively.
Torchy's Tacos does not participate in the following giving systems:
- At-the-counter fundraising
- Pin-Up campaigns
- Political affiliated groups or legal endeavors of any kind
- Religious groups for religious purposes
- Independent projects or franchises (film crews, authors, research or travel grants, etc.)
If you have a in-kind request you'd like Torchy's to be a part of and it fits the above criteria, let us know and we'll see what we can do. Due to the volume of requests we receive, please anticipate a 4-6 week response time. Also, please note that, though we look at every request, a response may not be granted.
Thank you for considering Torchy's Tacos to support your efforts!
Let’s get one thing straight – Torchy may be cute, but he isn’t what makes our food so Damn Good. Before the service and preceding the preparation, the food we serve is the flame to our fire.
We’re confident in the products we serve and the people we work with. If not regionally-sourced, you can bet your brush fire that it’s responsibly-sourced. We work with brands who believe that serving the best thing is the right thing, and we’re constantly looking to better ourselves.
Thank you to these fine partners, their missions, and putting their best food forward.
- Casa Brasil Coffee A direct trade, specialty coffee company that is freshly roasted in Austin, Texas. Their vision is focused on collaborating unmatched flavor with progressive social initiatives to your cup – and to the people of Brazil. All of their coffees are hand selected at source, imported and roasted fresh to order.
- Maine Root Sodas Maine Root handcrafted beverages is a Fair Trade Certified supplier of organic cane sugar sodas. Their products were founded on the idea of providing the best tasting and environmentally responsible product possible.
- El Milagro El Milagro, established in 1950, prides themselves on the quality of their product. All of their ingredients are hand-selected, never pre-processed, and made fresh and delivered daily.
At Torchy’s, we’re dedicated to making the most sustainable impact of our products from beginning to end. From fresh, ingredients to systems and products within our establishments, we’re aimed on making a difference.
As a quick service restaurant, we know that packaging can be a heavy source of waste. That’s why, with the help of eco-friendly products, we’re able to offer napkins, cups, cutlery, and more made from 100% renewable resources.
In addition to paper goods, our stores have a “take what you need, reuse what you can” philosophy. Our locations are equipped with low-flow toilets, tankless water heaters, and erected with 40% reclaimed wood. Also, it’s no secret that we’re fans of the fryer, but you may be happy to learn that most of our used oil is collected and later turned into fuel for automobiles.
We’re constantly trying to improve our operations and our relationship with the environment. With your understanding, we’re aimed at more responsible products and processes. In the meantime, take what you need, reuse what you can.