MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- "Everybody loves tacos!" That is one reason why Justin Hershey decided to start Chicano Boy Taco in Staunton, Virginia back in 2015. And while it may be true that everybody loves tacos, the impetus behind Hershey's decision to steer his culinary ship in that direction is much deeper.
"Chicano Boy is a little bit of a reclamation project for me personally. I'm half Mexican. I was separated from my father and adopted," Hershey, whose birth name was Manuel Padron Jr., said. "So about six or seven years ago, when my relationship with my father really opened up... it became a bridge for me to rekindle that with my father."
Last year, Hershey opened his second Chicano Boy Taco location. This one is located at 2003 Huguenot Road in Midlothian.
"A lot of folks [in Staunton] have family in Richmond, we kind of had a little bit of a fan base coming into the Richmond market," he said. "There were a lot of happy folks that were finally here. They didn't have to travel all the way to Staunton. We kind of had a little bit of following coming into the market, which was really, really helpful. Everything's been good. We've been very fortunate with a warm reception."
Chicano Boy serves a variety of tacos, burritos, and bowls.
"So much of our goal is trying to make people happy with food," Hershey said. "We make happy food. Everybody loves tacos."
Learn much more about Hershey and his journey on the Eat It, Virginia podcast.