Haven’t we all sat on the couch and told ourselves we would go to the gym tomorrow? The four co-owners Gamaliel Romero, Uriel Romero, Jorge Perez, and Roberto Bruno used this idea to create a place where customers did not want to skip gym day, thus creating Gym Taco.
Co-owner Gamaliel Romero has been crafting Mexican cuisine since the age of 11 with his mother in Puebla, Mexico. His mother ran her own business selling street tacos where he and his brother learned the value of hard work and the highs and lows of business ownership.
A few years later Gamaliel and his brother Uriel moved to the states. They moved at ages fifteen and sixteen, and shortly after the move the two entered the restaurant business. Gamaliel trained in an Italian restaurant while Uriel trained in a Mexican establishment.
Fast forward to 2019 Uriel and his friends, Jorge Perez and Roberto Bruno approached Gamaliel with an idea. Gamaliel claims that even though he was last to the business endeavor, he, and his collection of chef skills and spices, was the key to their success. With their combined experiences in varying kitchens and cuisines around Raleigh, they spearheaded a food truck together that would be different from any other taco truck around and the last step was to find the perfect name.
The name Gym Taco was inspired by their first location, and the men’s reluctance to hit the gym. Gamaliel said that it was a very common conversation to promise friends and family a gym visit but they continued to find themselves never getting around to it. This, coupled with their first location near a gym, inspired the name of their truck, Gym Taco. Now that the truck had “gym” in the name, they could tell everyone they were headed to the gym and actually mean it.
The Early Years
The four friends work hard together, especially in their early years. Gamaliel reported, “The first few years were not easy. We would only go home and sleep for two to three hours and then head back to the truck.” This was due to the time it took to drive, set up the truck, and prep the food before opening at 8 am. They would work together until closing at 11 pm to then wash the dishes and move the truck to the next location. These four would get even less sleep on the weekends when they closed at 3 am. But because of their determination, they were set apart from the rest, contributing to their survival through the pandemic and the opening of their storefront on Hillsborough St. in January of this year.
Advice and Goals
Gamaliel’s biggest advice to new business owners is not to be afraid to take risks. All four of the men risked their livelihood to make Gym Taco happen, a risk that eventually paid off. He also made sure to note the sacrifices and time involved to get your business on the map, while strenuous and time-consuming, you will see it pay back if you push through.
His next goal is to be a place that is talked about 10 years from now, even if Gym Taco’s doors have closed. I’d say thanks to the great menu, social media, loyal customers, and word of mouth, they are almost there.