For the last week, the Duluth bloggersphere has been abuzz with news of a new addition to this city’s obsession with delicious food: Un Taco Mas by Rosie.
Operating out of a trailer on the corner of Basswood Avenue and Central Entrance, Rosalinda Yepez, better known as Rosie, had been serving up authentic Mexican cuisine as well as stories of her trailer’s journey from San Antonio, Texas, for just a few days when a post on Perfect Duluth Day began to bring in the masses.
“We had so many people coming in saying they read about my trailer on Perfect Duluth Day, and I had no idea what they were talking about,” Rosie said. “Then my daughter called and started reading me the posts, and I started to cry I was so happy. I love my trailer.”
The original post on Perfect Duluth Day hails Rosie’s tacos as “the best taco I have had in Duluth.” The author of the post also said, “I felt it was my civic duty to inform the PDD community about Un Taco Mas by Rosie…The place is very much worth the visit.”
Since then, pictures of the trailer and Rosie’s tacos have been all over PDD as well as Facebook, much to the delight of its proprietor.
“We’ve been so busy I ran out of tortillas,” she said.
Rosie began selling authentic Mexican food in San Antonio as well as in other cities about four years ago.
“One of my friends was a motorcycle gypsy, and she loved my food, so we started traveling around with a tent selling at motorcycle rallies all over Texas,” Rosie said. “Then my boyfriend bought me this trailer in 2009.”
Eventually, her brother, who lives in Ely, Minn., suggested she move her business to the Northland. After some consideration, Rosie as well as her boyfriend, daughter and three grandchildren moved from San Antonio to try out this new venture.
“We’ve been talking about coming up here for about two years and finally got here in March of this year,” she said. “But we had to leave the trailer in Waco [Texas] because it was too heavy for our truck to pull it. In the end, we had to have it shipped up here.”
After spending a short time in Ely, Rosie realized it wasn’t quite the right fit for Un Taco Mas by Rosie.
“Ely’s very small, and it pretty much shuts down in the winter when we would want to stay open, so we decided to try Duluth instead,” Rosie said.
But Duluth presented its own challenges, namely finding a permanent location.
“We tried a few other places in Duluth, but people just kept saying 'No' or that we could only stay for a certain number of days,” Rosie said. “But I wanted to stay in one place so people would always know where to find us. We struggled at first; there were times I just wanted to go back to Texas, but my boyfriend kept telling me, ‘No, we’re going to make this happen.’ So we kept trying.”
If the past week is any indication, she made the right decision.
“Paul Wrazidlo, the owner of Old World Meats, was the one who finally said ‘Yes.’ This wouldn’t have happened without him,” she said.
Rosie said she is proud to serve truly authentic Mexican food.
“We don’t even own a can opener, and we don’t even crack an egg until you come up and order a chorizo and egg,” she said.
Rosie is also working on exposing Duluth patrons to real Mexican cuisine with a bit of humor thrown in.
When I visited Un Taco Mas by Rosie, I was perusing the menu and chatting with Rosie when suddenly she said, “I want you to try something, but you have to decide if you want to know what it is before or after you’ve tasted it.”
Feeling brave, I said I would just try it before I found out what it was. She handed me a small cup with pieces of marinated meat, grinning as I tried the first bite.
“It’s delicious,” I said. “What is that?”
With a knowing smile, Rosie replied, “That’s lengua – cow tongue. That’s real, authentic Mexican food. And as far as I know, you won’t find that anywhere else in Duluth.”
Rosie hopes to eventually put lengua tacos on the regular menu but said that she wanted people to try it first.
“There’s kind of a stigma about it,” she said. “Not everyone’s as brave as you.”
Anyone who didn’t make it to Un Taco Mas by Rosie before Oct. 20 will, unfortunately, have to wait to try Rosie’s cooking. The trailer will be closed the next couple of weeks until the licensing process is complete.
“But then we’ll be back, don’t you worry,” Rosie said. “And we’ll have a bigger menu with vegetarian options and other new things for people to try.”
When the trailer reopens, the menu will be bigger, but Rosie insists that prices will not be.
“We just want everybody to be able to taste our food,” she said. “We’re not aiming at a certain category of people. We want to serve good food. That’s really why we’re here, and we want everyone to be able to afford it.”
UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 25
After being closed for just over two weeks, Rosie said they’re still working on getting everything ready to reopen.
“Financially, we’re kind of at a standstill,” she said. “It costs a lot to get the right permits and get things up to code as well as pay the rent, but we’re working on it.”
Despite those challenges, Rosie hopes to reopen soon.
“We’re not giving up," she said. "I’ve been checking out loans and that kind of thing. Hopefully, we’ll be up and running in a couple of weeks, maybe a month.”