Los Agaves taco truck finds home in Fort Atkinson

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

FORT ATKINSON—Food carts have been around for a long time in cities such as Madison and Milwaukee.

Food trucks are a more recent phenomenon, but they have been a common sight in America's big cities for a decade. Essentially a take-out restaurant on wheels, the food truck is a growing trend that is beginning to take hold in smaller cities, too.

The Los Agaves taco truck in Fort Atkinson is one example.

Francisco Valadez has owned and operated Los Agaves Mexican Restaurant in Delavan for five years. About two years ago, he equipped a truck with all the necessary grilling and refrigeration capabilities and began sending it out to sell the Mexican specialties that are served at his sit-down restaurant.

Each day, the truck stocks up in Delavan and sets out for the Main Street bridge over the Rock River in downtown Fort Atkinson.

With his daughter, Vanessa Valadez, interpreting, Valadez said he sent the truck to Milton for the first year, but sales weren't what he expected. The truck also encountered opposition from other Milton restaurants.

Since operating in Fort Atkinson, however, business has been strong.

“It will be there year-round,” he said. “If it gets extremely cold, we might take it inside for a little bit. But it does a good business.”

The truck offers most of what you would expect for take-out Mexican food: tacos, burritos, tortas, tostados and quesadillas. Some of the ingredients you can add to your order include chicken, steak, pork (pastor), chorizo, ground beef or tripe.

Ask for onions, cilantro and a slice of avocado—along with a choice of red or green salsa—and you've got an inexpensive and delicious meal that takes less than five minutes to prepare.

How did Valadez get the idea for a food truck? In Milwaukee, he said, there are more food trucks than most people think.

“In Mexico, he used to own trucks, not exactly food trucks, and then he got the idea of having food trucks here,” his daughter explained.

For a while, they operated two trucks, she said, but for the past year have been down to just one.

“We are thinking of adding another next summer,” she said. “He's planning to stay in Fort Atkinson.”

Valadez picked an ideal location to park the truck. The Main Street bridge is wide with parking spaces delineated along both sides. So it's not only easy to access, but also scenic.

After eating, you can take a stroll along the city's Riverwalk, which is always a good digestive.

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