Chef Spotlight: Gringos Tacos Denver
Meet the masterminds behind one of Denver’s favorite new food trucks
We’ve dug into their delicious tacos, now we want to dig into the gurus helming the grill. This month, we’re spotlighting Gringos Tacos Denver, a pandemic-born food truck bringing fresh new flavors to the city’s taco scene. By pushing the boundaries of creative culinary and redefining what counts as ‘concession fare,’ Gringos Tacos is helping pioneer Denver’s post-pandemic dining landscape, elevating the expected and smashing the standards.
Curious what a day in the Gringos Tacos truck would be like? Experience it for yourself when chefs Travis Nicoletti and Chris Carey take control of the @diningoutmagazine Instagram feed for a full day! Don’t miss the Gringos Tacos Instagram Takeover on Sunday, September 25.
Until then, dive a little deeper with our interview with Gringos Tacos founder Travis Nicoletti:
- DiningOut: What’s the story behind Gringos Tacos?
Travis Nicoletti: Gringos Tacos Denver was kinda born out of a drunken joke during the pandemic. I was the general manager at Biker Jim’s, and asked Jim if I could use his restaurant for a pop-up on Tuesdays while we were closed down due to labor issues. After doing nine weeks of pop-ups, we knew we had to buy a food truck and start our own thing.
- As a company, what is your mission?
Our mission is simple, we want to elevate the dining experience at local venues where people are accustomed to regular concession food.
- You launched your food truck in May 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. What was that like?
I think we were one of the few restaurants for which the pandemic offered a positive outcome. We were able to secure funds for a food trailer, using Jim’s place while he was shut down on Tuesdays. The biggest challenge for us was how desolate downtown became during 2020.
- Without giving away all your secrets, what makes Gringos Tacos stand above the rest?
One thing I learned from working at Jim’s is how to set your concept apart from everyone else’s. We don’t do typical tacos — we take a traditional cut of meat, such as beef cheek, and add a Gringos flare to it, like our tequila raspberry hot sauce.
- What’s your favorite thing on the Gringos Tacos menu?
My favorite taco is going to be our Machete Taco. It’s made with beef cheek, so it has all the savory fat flavors going on, then we top it with our housemade chicharrones and our tequila raspberry hot sauce, so you got sweet, tangy, and savory going on.
- What’s the future look like for Gringos Tacos?
I want to continue to grow Gringos through our partnerships with companies such as Aramark and Legends, and continue to elevate peoples’ concessions experiences with really good food you won’t normally find at a lot of venues.
- What’s the hottest taco trend right now?
I think birria tacos are definitely the hottest trend going on right now. We offer our birria tacos with a more traditional meat such as lamb, and we cook our consome for 24 hours to give the bone broth a whole new level of depth.
- What are some of the places where you find taco inspiration around Denver?
I’ve been blessed to surround myself with some very inspirational people, such as Richard Schneider who owns Raquelitas Tortillas. He’s been a great mentor for me. He always inspires me when I hear him talk about his products and how he sources everything as local as he can. Another great taco inspiration for me is my friend Chef Z with Luchador food truck. He puts out some of the best tacos in the city. We hope to soon collaborate on a taco together.
- Is there anything else you want readers to know?
Without spoiling the surprises, Gringos Tacos Denver has a lot of cool stuff planned out over the next year, from hosting local chefs with ‘I’m From Denver’ to promote local trucks and restaurants, to new podcasts experiences highlighting local foods that maybe don’t get the exposure they deserve.
Stay in the loop with Gringos Tacos Denver
Here’s where you can typically find the Gringos Tacos food truck:
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Fiddler’s Green Ampitheater
And more to come soon!