Isai and Karina Martinez started their taco truck, Tacos Barbon, before the pandemic to supplement their income.
When COVID-19 caused Isai to lose his job in 2020, the Buckeye couple turned their hobby into a full-time job.
Now, after finding success in the food truck industry, the Martinez family officially opened their first Tacos Barbon restaurant on Dec. 3. The business is inside of the Holiday Inn in Goodyear.
“We’ve been looking for a while, and we were hitting a lot of different challenges,” Isai said. “We really didn’t know if it was going to happen this year, but when this opportunity came up, we were just really excited about being able to do this so soon. The ability to expand and be able to do a lot more is really exciting.”
The restaurant features the same menu as the food truck, with a few new items to offer their guests every day from 5 to 10 p.m.
“We’re really happy that we’re able to take this step now, a year and a half later, to be able to partner with the Holiday Inn and really expand our business,” Isai said. “It’s a full restaurant, we’re going to have a full menu. Our menu from our food truck will be the same one here, and then we’re adding some appetizers to that as well.”
The couple’s families are from Sonora. Isai said the food reflects their heritage, as they stick to tradition while throwing in ribeye tacos.
“We stay close to our roots with Sonoran-style food,” he said. “We use quality meats, such as skirt steak for our carne asada. It’s something that you’re not going to find everywhere. It’s just higher-quality meats. It’s going to be a better taco than your somewhat average restaurant or taco spot would have. We are going to give you the type of food that we would serve our family and our friends in our own home, something very simple and flavorful.”
While thrilled about the expansion of his business, Isai admitted he never pictured his small taco cart would transform into a food truck, nevertheless a restaurant.
“My wife and I, we’ve always liked cooking, we’ve always liked entertaining, so at first it was just something to do as a hobby, something to have fun with,” he said. “Then, in May, I ended up losing my job, and that’s what really started the whole process. That’s when we decided that we were really going to give it a go. Since the start we’ve been fortunate enough to just keep growing at a very healthy level.”
One of his favorite parts of owning Tacos Barbon is the freedom that comes with it — knowing his family business can thrive in the West Valley.
“We love the whole freedom part of it, the fact that we’re all doing what we like,” he said, noting that his wife, brother-in-law, sister and daughter are all part of the Tacos Barbon team. “We love people. We love interacting with our customers. That’s probably one of the things that we enjoy most about it, and just overall being able to serve our community.”
As Isai and his team celebrate their restaurant’s grand opening, Isai said he hopes to continue expanding.
“We hope that we can grow even further. My vision for it would be to have a few locations across the Valley and as well as our catering aspect of it, which is growing a lot as well. And, of course, you still have our food truck going out to various areas of the Valley,” he said.
1188 N. Dysart Road, Goodyear