Northern California chain Jimboy's Tacos, whose crisp, grilled tacos have an unexpected twist, will open its first Texas location in Plano by the end of September. The twist: The corn tortilla taco shell is dusted with Parmesan cheese.
Founder Jim "Jimboy" Knudson, who first opened Jimboy's as a trailer in Tahoe, California, in 1954, devised his signature taco by accident when grated Parmesan cheese fell on the taco shell and resulted in a unique taste. Jimboy's most popular taco is filled with seasoned ground beef, lettuce and American cheese. There are also tacos filled with shredded beef, chicken, carnitas, bean and fish.
According to spokeswoman Dina Guillen, the restaurant rose to fame after becoming a favorite destination for celebrities such as Rat Pack members Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, as well as the stars of TV series Bonanza, which filmed nearby.
"It's not anything earth-shattering or new; it's just the idea that it was not a soft taco but a crispy grilled taco, and it used only fresh ingredients," she says. "The Parmesan cheese brings a new, different flavor that you might not see much of in Texas."
In addition to the crisp tacos, Jimboy's also does soft "street" tacos, burritos, nachos and churros. The chain currently has 33 branches in California and seven in Nevada.
This is the first outside of the West Coast. It will go into a space at 101 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., at U.S. 75, in what was formerly another short-lived taco spot. There are plans to open 8 to 11 branches in the Dallas area, with two already under contract in Irving and another in The Colony.
"The reason it came about that Jimboy's would come to Dallas is that the owners were in Texas for a franchise show and fell in love with the area," Guillen says. "It's a family-run business. Jim's daughter Karen is president and CEO, and she is just like her dad. They are adventurous, fearless risk-takers."
But Guillen says they also get a lot of requests to open from people who used to live in Sacramento and have moved to Texas. "Until you’ve tried our tacos, it's hard to explain how craveable they are," she says. "We've had customers tells us they will land in Sacramento and go straight to Jimboy's. It's distinct, different."