Bus being refurbished for taco business
By ALEXANDER SIMONE
Paulo Zaragoza’s dream of operating a food truck has been years in the making. The vehicle by which he hopes to achieve that goal is as unique as the path he has taken to get there.
The Zaragozas bought an old school bus after seeing it as they headed to breakfast three years ago at Main Street Café in Durham.
Paulo’s interest was not just in business, but also in investing the time to get it set up, wife Angie Zaragoza said.
“You can just go and buy a truck that’s ready to go, and all you have to do is go work,” she said. “This is like he was saying — if you do it and work hard for it, then you appreciate it. Blood, sweat, and tears.”
They put the plan on hold in fall 2017 to help transport emergency supplies to hurricane victims in Houston.
The Zaragozas got back on track recently and last week made quick work of stripping the inside, removing the bus’s old seats over the course of a day. That efficiency will be needed to finish the project by August, which is Paulo’s goal.
“The hard part is making the business plan,” he said. “I’ve already done all that. Now it’s more mechanical — cutting, installing — and the other part is already done.”
Paulo still will have to be careful with some parts. Particular attentiveness is needed when the bus’s height is raised to make it easier to stand in, and in painting the logo. With all the work, state health department requirements must be met.
Paulo will handle redoing the floor, since he has experience with that kind of work, but he knows help will be needed for tasks like raising the roof and installing equipment.
“I see it’s a lot of work now, especially with those little things,” he said. “It’s not expected but I still have the idea, and I think it’s going to be great.”
A major part of Paulo’s plan hinges on keeping the school bus aesthetic. Doing minimal work with the design and paint job will help distinguish it from other food trucks, he said.
The visual Paulo wants to portray is a homemade atmosphere where customers can watch him prepare food — even the basics — from scratch.
“I want to do something authentic,” he said. “You guys will see me making the tortillas, homemade tortillas.”
Last modified June 25, 2020