King Taco is a fast food restaurant chain based in Los Angeles, California, serving soft tacos, burritos, sopes, tamales, nachos, and authentic Mexican drinks such as horchata, jamaica, and tamarindo. Some locations also serve roasted chicken. King Taco has its headquarters in Los Angeles.
King Taco was founded in 1974 by Raul Martínez, Sr., who operated a mobile lunch wagon out of a converted ice cream truck. Author Gustavo Arellano has credited Martinez as the inventor of the modern taco truck. Within six months, he opened the first of the chain's restaurants in Cypress Park. He opened the second King Taco on 3rd Street in East Los Angeles, which at 4,000 square feet (370 m2) is the flagship restaurant. Other locations soon followed, opening every other year in Commerce, Baldwin Park, El Monte and other East Los Angeles sites. By 1995, he had established fourteen restaurants grossing over $21 million.
As of 2008, the company operated 20 restaurants throughout Los Angeles County. They have recently opened up new restaurants in Old Town Pasadena and Long Beach, some of the few not located in a predominantly Mexican American neighborhood. The company has also contributed to urban revitalization through the retrofitting of vacant commercial buildings for its restaurants. Additionally King Taco has expanded into the Inland Empire, with a restaurant in Ontario, California.
King Taco has been a car racing sponsor to a number of cars and drivers.
In 2003 King Taco was the sponsor of the Champ Car season finale at the California Speedway. Called the King Taco 500, the race was eventually cancelled as a result of the forest fires that devastated the Southern California area at the time.
In 2007, the company sponsored Carl Skerlong in the 2008 and 2008 Champ Car Atlantic Championship with US RaceTronics and sponsored Mike Gallegos in the NASCAR Grand National Division – West Series. King Taco has, and currently sponsors Luis Martinez Jr in the K&N Pro Series West and Raquel Martinez in her karting career. The company has very strong roots in the Southern California racing community and is a sponsor of events such as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It also has a heavy presence at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, various go-karting events, and the Auto Club Speedway.
King Taco Restaurant, Inc. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against King Taco Express, Inc., Emmanuel Luna and Sol Celene Rojas in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in March 2008. They won the lawsuit.
- "Careers." King Taco. Retrieved on January 21, 2010.
- Jesus Sanchez, "King Taco Got Start in Old Ice Cream Van", Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1987.
- Gustavo Arellano, "Raul Martinez Sr., Founder of Iconic King Taco Chain/Inventor of the Taco Truck, Dies", OC Weekly, December 5, 2013.
- "Authentic Latin eats: King Taco Restaurants Inc.". Los Angeles Business Journal. 1999-09-06.
- Díaz, David R. (2005). Chicanos, Planning, and American Cities. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-94541-7.
- Jenn Harris, "Raul Martinez Sr., founder of King Taco, dies at 71", Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2013.
- "Founder Of King Taco Dies At 71", KCBS-TV, December 4, 2013.
- King Taco website
- "King Taco Restaurant, Inc. v. King Taco Express, Inc. et al. Federal Court Docket". 2009-02-26.