A family-run Mexican food truck is set to help transform a corner of Port Huron into a new dining spot by Memorial Day weekend as part of the owner’s vision to attract downtown visitors.
Scott Beedon, owner of the Water and Fourth Street site under the Beedon Group LLC, is still in the process of fitting out the space and seeking a tenant for a temporary pod structure on the property. The structure itself won zoning appeal board approval earlier this month with site plans for a future concept food truck lot.
So far, however, Beedon said he was excited to work with a food truck to start.
And the team at the helm of this operation – the Flying Taco – crosses several generations.
“My dad and I, our first paid job was Boat Night ’96. We were created…across the river there. We were selling burritos. It was called Senior’s Burritos,” Greg Marinez said of his dad, Gary, or Gary Senior. “That’s when we started 26 years ago, and since then we’ve been running food trucks, catering and other things. He moved from Senior’s to Marinez’s Mexican Food. I bought a food truck, I think, 15, 20 years ago. … Our tacos, they appear like they’re flying, so we’ve been the Flying Taco ever since.
More than ten years ago, the family had a restaurant in Lexington under the name of Flying Taco. And for several years, as a separate business, Greg’s son, Ben, has been helping run things as well.
Greg Marinez said his father was already retired, he more recently retired after decades with Chrysler – citing their business in Mexican cuisine as a side gig – and that his son plans to take over at the coming. Greg and his son live in Lexington, while Gary lives in Fort Gratiot. But Greg said he grew up in the Port Huron area.
On Friday, all – Greg and Ben wearing older Flying Taco t-shirts and Gary with an older Marinez emblem – said they were looking forward to coming around the corner from Port Huron to downtown Beedon.
“I’m excited,” Ben said. “I’ve been helping with the restoration for probably six, seven years. I know how the trailer works, more technical details, recipes and all that.
“It always tastes good”: keeping family recipes alive
Greg and his son live in Lexington, while Gary lives in Fort Gratiot. But Greg said he grew up in the Port Huron area.
The menu they will start with, he said, will largely be a la carte with entrees ranging from $4 to a $14 shareable nacho. Of course, Greg said a lot of them would include tacos, though they’re also hosting “a real fan favorite” in carnitas.
Some of the things they made like stewed pork or a salsa are family recipes.
“All homemade. My mother made it with a molcajete. It’s one of those stones, and she used to grind with a stone and make her own salsa that way – grind peppers and all that. Then I started doing it using a blender,” Gary Marinez said, sparking laughs among the group. “All mixed up. It always tastes good.
Although they are also open on Mondays over Memorial Day weekend, Greg Marinez said they will be largely open weekly Thursday through Sunday from lunchtime “until people have finished eating or that we run out of food”.
Learn about space at Fourth, Wall Streets
Beedon said he calls the space around the pod structure “The Lot,” and like the Marinez crew, he donned his own t-shirt on Friday.
He said he found the Flying Taco through word of mouth, adding that he was “overwhelmingly told” to work with them on his larger idea for the space. They have been in contact for a few months.
On Friday, Beedon said electricity had been done on site and a water connection was underway next week. They were on track to welcome diners by the bank holiday weekend.
The food truck trailer will be located just south of the pod.
“Then we have troughs with tall grass and a trellis,” Beedon said. “…What they’re going to do is they’re going to remove the gravel, and we’re going to mulch the driveway with cedar.”
The space will also have colorful solar-powered umbrellas to top off its seating area and hanging lights.
Of the pod itself, which measures around 400 square feet, Beedon said, “We’re looking for opportunities for the right gig to come here. It’s for rent, so we’re looking for a tenant.
Beedon added that he plans to have music on the bridge on Fridays and Saturdays and hopes to have a family night on Thursday.
He wasn’t yet sure when he might bring more food trucks on the road, but he added that he hopes visitors will take advantage of the downtown social district to grab a cocktail and pick up some Mexican food this summer.
“It’s trial and error for all of us. In my ideal world, I’d like to see it go through the fall,” Beedon said. .”
Social media pages are in the works for the Flying Taco and the Lot.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith