Former Nopalito Chef raising funds for “Leon” Emeryville Based Taco Cart

Published On May 20, 2015 | By Rob Arias | In the Neighborhood, Restaurants

Former Nopalito chef Jose Ramos kicked off an Indiegogo fundraising campaign this month to raise money for a new Emeryville based taco cart and catering service dubbed “Leon”. The Campaign is seeking $9,000 in contributions to pay for the cart, fryer & other essentials in exchange for “perks” that include tiered meals & services that start at $20. “We will be a ‘roaming’ taco cart” noted Jose’s wife Elizabeth through email. “We hope to be at Emeryville Off the Grid, a couple of farmers market in the East Bay, at least one in SF and will be doing Pop ups at different cafes and bars. (Until we find a permanent place).”

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Elizabeth Tinajero & Jose Ramos are looking to bring a custom taco truck to E’ville. 

Jose and Elizabeth are also looking to move to the East Bay from SF and will be bringing their organic, fresh, healthy style of Mexican food with them. “We really want to bring dishes that are inspired by the regional and street food of Mexico. We will prepared different tacos, alongside mole sauces, we have a wide variety of salsas and hot sauces. We will make almost everything in-house in small batches with organic and quality ingredients. We are committed to supporting organic farmers and ranchers and our menu will be seasonal. We will be serving many different tacos each with a different salsa or mole sauce. As well as other regional and street food inspired dishes”.

Ramos’ assent in the culinary world has been impressive having risen from a line cook at Nopa in 2009 to opening Chef at spin-off, sister restaurant Nopalito. Ramos has since developed the Menu for the upscale Mexican establishment Sabrosa and for the past year has overseen the kitchen at Nido in Oakland. Ramos is now looking to bring his recipes out of the kitchen and onto the streets of the East Bay including our community. “Having the mobile taco cart will allow us to cook and serve in different cities throughout the Bay Area. We will cook meats, vegetables and tortillas to order”. In addition to Tacos (“lots of tacos!”), León will work in totopos, variety of salsas, ceviche tostadas and picked seasonal vegetables. Elizabeth is a quality chef in her own right having graduated from the renowned Culinary Institute of America.

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Items like the feature image Carnitas Tacos and these Tamales could soon be coming to E’ville.

The Ramos’s have identified that there will be challenges with this new venture and are confident that the creativity they have relied on thus far will help them overcome any obstacles put before them. “We strongly believe that León will be a significant contributor to an already large sustainable community in the San Francisco Bay area. We also believe in the power of hospitality – making our guests feel special and taken care of is an integral part of our business.”

If they are able to in fact raise more than expected, they noted the “wish list” item of a stone corn grinder to make masa which is a corn “dough” used in tamales among other items. Elizabeth & Jose are also looking at East Bay locations to host “Pop-up” events starting in June to showcase and test their recipes within the community. Bars or Cafe’s that are interested in partnering with them should contact them through email. Keep up with their progress by following them on Instagram.

Make a donation to Leon through IndieGoGo.com before June 10th:

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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