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Employees at Romo’s Tacos at the restaurant’s Thirteenth Avenue South location in Fargo apply salsa to a burrito during the lunch hour on Tuesday. Nick Wagner / The Forum

Taco transition: Romos strives to overcome a few speed bumps in its shift from food truck to restaurant

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Fargo - Rodolfo Romo is beginning to wonder if he should have stayed in his food truck.

Romo, who debuted his Romo’s Tacos food truck in downtown Fargo a few years ago, opened a storefront March 6 in south Fargo. This month, he opened a second location downtown, in the basement of the Black Building.

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Traffic has been light at his newest site, the former home of Bertrosa’s, a downtown fixture that closed in April. At the time, owner Derek Radke cited increased competition from downtown eateries and heating problems with the building.

The building issues have been fixed, he said, but the space still has a bad reputation.

Romo said if he were still in a food truck, he could just drive away from a slow spot.

“Here you have to stay no matter what,” he said.

But the two spaces will allow him to operate year-round, something a food truck doesn’t easily afford.

It’s also been difficult to find workers, he said. He’s had to turn down catering work as a result.

Romo describes it as the ups and downs of any small-business owner.

Romo moved to Fargo after his restaurant in Omaha tanked in 2009 with the rest of the economy.

He saved money for the truck, and after stints near Fort Noks in downtown Fargo and O’Reilly Auto Parts on 32nd Avenue South, he opened Romo’s Tacos at 3402 13th Ave. S. this spring.

Business has been brisk there, he said, but the same hasn’t held true at the Black Building. “Hopefully it picks up,” he said.

Romo doesn’t have a commercial kitchen in either space, so he wakes up at 2 a.m. or earlier daily to prep the food at Square One Rental Kitchen and Event Center, which rents commercial kitchen space to local caterers, bakers and other small-business owners. Romo then transports the food to his two shops.

Casey Steele, owner of Square One, said she’s sure Romo’s downtown location will take off.

“He’s a true success story,” she said. “He takes his work very seriously and he works harder than anyone I know, and it really shows.”

The menu for Romo’s Tacos features tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads, soup and a daily special plate. Romo said he plans to add fish and shrimp tacos to the downtown menu.

Dan Creswell used to work in the Black Building, and was first introduced to Romo’s food through the food truck. He said he eats at the shop once a week. Recently, he sat down with a small burrito, which he described as being “the size of my face.”

“I tell everyone I know about it. The prices are reasonable, and it’s the best street food you can find in Fargo,” Creswell said.

Romo said he hopes people will give the space, and Mexican food, a second chance.

“Hopefully one day, working hard, I’ll open a real restaurant,” he said.

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Sherri Richards
Sherri Richards has worked for The Forum since 2002. She is the features and business editor, overseeing Variety, SheSays, Farmers' Forum, the daily Business pages and Saturday Business section.     Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to letters@forumcomm.com
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