Roseville-based Jimboy’s Tacos is making a push into Texas.
Company spokeswoman Dina Guillen said Thursday that a Jimboy’s restaurant will have a “soft” opening in the city of Plano on Tuesday, and will open two more restaurants this year in nearby Irving and another in The Colony.
All four locations are in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area and will be company-owned.
Ultimately, Guillen said, Jimboy’s hopes to open eight to 11 stores in Texas over the next year.
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“We’ve been wanting to expand for a while, and we’ve been pursuing it aggressively for the last year and a half,” Guillen said, adding that the Texas push “just kind of fell into place.”
Why take California tacos to Texas? Guillen said company officials were at a large franchise gathering in Dallas earlier this year and fell in love with the area.
“We felt like it was a good place for us to grow ... Here’s this taco-crazed state where there are people who would likely love our product.”
Guillen said there are no plans to move the family-run company headquarters to Texas.
According to Atlanta-based Franchise Direct USA Inc., which tracks the franchise industry nationwide, “Mexican food franchises are outperforming all other types of restaurants or fast-food franchises,” with 8 percent annual growth. The Mexican restaurant industry is a $52 billion-a-year enterprise, according to MarketResearch.com.
While Jimboy’s offers numerous Mexican-inspired food items, its original taco remains a favorite, with a grilled corn tortilla filled with ground beef, grated cheeses and shredded lettuce. Guillen described the Texas menu as a “trimmed-down” version of what’s served at California Jimboy’s outlets. That include the chain’s signature tacos, street tacos, burritos and salads, plus a few extras like “super nachos.”
Earlier this year, Jimboy’s marked its 60th anniversary with celebrations that included multiple generations of family members. The chain’s local roots date back to 1954 when Jim and Margaret Knudson converted a 16-foot trailer at Lake Tahoe into a mobile kitchen, eventually hauling it to Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe’s north shore.
By 1958, Jimboy’s Tacos was operating out of a small building on North Tahoe Boulevard. The tacos drew the attention of celebrities performing at the nearby Cal Neva resort. Entertainers visiting the Jimboy’s storefront for a taco fix included members of the famous Hollywood “Rat Pack” – Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
In 1969, Jim Knudson began franchising Jimboy’s Tacos. He was the original “Jimboy,” a nickname given to him by a longtime customer. Knudson died in 2011 at the age of 95.
Jimboy’s now has about 40 restaurants in California and Nevada, most of them franchised operations.
Besides Texas, there are long-term plans to expand Jimboy’s Tacos restaurants into India. Last year, the Krrish Group, an Indian development company, announced a multifranchise partnership to operate Jimboy’s Tacos restaurants in that country. Officials said seven to 11 Jimboy’s outlets could open in India over the next two years.