Otherworldly Tofino, on the far west coast of Vancouver Island, is an incredible place and one that holds many special things to me. And one of those special things in Tofino is Tacofino.
Yup. Tacos. Out of a food truck.
Not just any old tacos, mind. Nor any old truck for that matter. Tacofino is now far beyond just a local beach town institution. Since its inception in 2009, the business has grown organically, birthed a few more trucks as well as a fully plumbed and immobile brick and mortar location in Vancouver.
Back in June 2009, Jason Sussman, Kaeli Robinsong and Amy Bockner hatched a plan that would combine shared history tree planting/camp cooking in the summers and spending winters in Mexico surfing with a more permanent location. A taco-centric food truck, parked in the center of surf culture, became the end plan. The trio bought a film catering truck from Vancouver (rumored to be the very first of its kind to show up in Vancouver in 1978), painted it bright orange and had the Virgin de Guadalupe (depicted holding a taco in her hands) hand-painted on the truck by Kaeli’s father, artist Lee Robinsong. I well remember my first visit to Tofino shortly after they opened and hearing the buzz around the beaches about the crazy delicious fish tacos in town. After one super fresh, rightfully sloppy, perfectly seasoned fast slow food fish taco, I was—well—hooked.
The company now numbers a couple more partners, a lot more tires plus the aforementioned Vancouver space—a fully designed and fully funky sit down restaurant in the Hastings Sunrise ‘hood called Tacofino Commissary. The casual, welcoming space is worth a visit alone for the spectacular chandelier; a jumble of copper wires and hand blown glass lights and vessels painted with botanicals and cacti. The back lot is where the food trucks roll out from for downtown Vancouver lunch duty, while the inside services those looking for tequila cocktails, Tofino Brewing Company beer on tap and Mexi-inspired small plates.
All locations are environmentally and nutritionally sustainable, individually characterful and colorful (that also applies to the staff). Vancouver’s Orange Taco Truck is closed for the winter, but available for catering year round. White Lightening The Burrito Truck is weekday lunch hours at Burrard & Dunsmuir. The Blue Burrito truck is parked in downtown Victoria at various locations, and of course, the original (my favorite) is now firmly rooted in the Life to Surf parking lot on the Pacific Coast Highway, opposite the beaches and en route to Tofino town. I can’t be on the west side without my go-to Fish Taco & Lime-Mint Freshie. Every time I pass by an unmistakably Tacofino truck on the streets of Victoria and Vancouver, I swear I can taste the sea salt spray on my lips and feel the crisp Pacific breeze in my bones.
And I can never forget: Taco Cat spelled backwards is Taco Cat. Thanks Tacofino!
Tacofino Commissary || 2327 E Hastings Street, Vancouver || tacofino.com
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