The first critical year has passed for Bull Taco and Texas BBQ, and owners Lester and Kathy Jones can finally breath a sigh of relief.
The couple's first entrepreneurial effort has found success, growing on word of mouth to fill a niche in the locally competitive restaurant industry.
"We are not going to have a day off for probably five weeks," Lester said. "We are concentrating on the catering and we have been putting on a lot of parties.
"That's where we get our business."
Bull Taco started in July 2000 when the Joneses decided to combine their decades of food service and cooking experience into a restaurant and catering service with a regional theme.
Their Carson City restaurant, located near the intersection of Roop Street and Hot Springs Road, offers a menu with a variety of chicken, beef, pork and fish prepared on the grill.
House sauces and rubs give Bull Taco's signature dishes a unique appeal. Lester, who learned his craft in kitchens in from Florida to Hawaii, combines his broad palate with influences - like his father's Texas barbecue - from his own childhood.
Unlike many of the Carson Street restaurants, Bull Taco has targeted locals, and the restaurant's following has visibly growing. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and 5-8 p.m., Monday-Friday, the lunch and early dinner crowd pack the house.
"It's tough for small restaurants that don't have that name," Lester said. "So we are kind of geared to be a small, family type restaurant.
"I really listen to customers. If enough people say to change something I will, even if I don't agree with them."
On the catering side, Bull Taco's reputation continues its growth. The company recently did a party for 500 Mission Linen employees and plans to serve even more at this year's Candy Dance in Genoa.
Part of the reason for its location in Carson City is central access to Reno, Dayton, Tahoe and Gardnerville. The other is family. Cathy's mother works at the restaurant.
The next development is to add to the menu with their own, in-house pork sausage. Lester said he plans to offer hot and mild varieties.
To continue to promote the restaurant, Lester said he will choose companies of the month, offering employees discounts.
Chef Rene Eckert helps run the Bull Taco kitchen, Lester said