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Goodbye to Veteran Restaurateur

Rusty Taco founder Rusty Fenton loses battle with cancer

Rusty Fenton, Rusty Taco
Rusty Fenton (right) outside the first location of Rusty Taco on Greenville Avenue. Photo courtesy of Rusty Taco

Rusty Fenton, who founded Uncle Julio's and Rusty Taco, passed away on June 24 from cancer. He was 53.

The news was issued by his brother Joe, who posted a message on Facebook announcing Rusty's death:

My brother, Rusty Fenton, passed away early this morning after a long battle with cancer. Please pray for his wonderful wife, Denise, and his four amazing and beautiful daughters, Kara, Katie, Emma, and Ellie Rose. He is a great man, but more importantly, a great Dad, a great husband, and a great guy.

A veteran restaurateur who co-founded the Uncle Julio's Mexican chain in the '80s, Fenton also worked for Carlsson's E-Brands, Pappas and the now-closed Trader Vic's in Dallas.

Rusty Taco was his second act. He was one of the first to see the rising fortunes of tacos when he opened the first branch on Greenville Avenue in 2010. There are now more a dozen locations, most of which are franchises.

"What really got me to the whole taco thing was when I worked for E-Brands," he said at the time, offering a nod to chef Stephan Pyles for his inspiration.

But the same year he launched Rusty Taco, he was also diagnosed with cancer.

Rusty Taco employee Susan Loyd told the Dallas Morning News that Fenton died at home surrounded by family.

Services will take place on Thursday at 10 am at Saint Michael and All Angels Church, at 8011 Douglas Ave. A reception will follow at the Rusty Taco on Greenville Ave.

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