Grassroots taqueria Tierra y Fuego expands food truck to brick-and-mortar hub

Urban farmers turned taco kings open farm-to-table North Boulder outpost

By Tatyana Sharpton Jun 18 2020

Boulder’s beloved Tierra y Fuego taco food truck, which has operated for the last several years at the charming Diaz Farm near 28th Street and Jay Road, has opened its much-awaited brick-and-mortar outpost at 4550 Broadway, Unit C-3A, in North Boulder on June 9.

Pepe Diaz

Originally set to open last September, the City of Boulder’s permitting process took much longer than expected, and Tierra y Fuego finally obtained the building permit the last week of January. Though it started construction right away in February, Covid-19 forced a two-month pause on operations.

Nine months later, the restaurant opened its doors with 11 employees at its new location, and in accordance with the CDC’s health regulations, operates at half capacity, allowing a maximum of 44 customers, including a patio for outdoor seating.

“It’s a very interesting time to open a restaurant,” Tierra y Fuego owner Pepe Diaz tells BLDRfly. “Some people might think we’re crazy opening right in the middle of a quarantine and pandemic, but we did it and it’s been great.”

The family’s Diaz Farm location. Image: Eric Forbes.

Farm to taco

Owner Pepe Diaz and his wife Victoria moved to Boulder in 2012 from Southern California and leased an acre-and-a-half farm at 28th Street and Jay Road with the idea of making a living as urban farmers. However, after creating their all-organic Diaz Farm and CSA program in 2015, the pair found that it didn’t produce enough.

Instead, they turned to their Mexican roots and launched an on-site a taco food truck operation in July 2018. Business boomed and soon people gathered in lines outside their spot at their Diaz Farm.

Having maxed out on space and capacity at the farm’s truck location, they decided to open a brick-and-mortar hub in North Boulder and invested $120,000 to renovate the space, which originally held a Subway, building a kitchen and remodeling the dining area.

“It’s been really, really good, beyond expectations,” says Pepe. “We were a little scared — are we going to have any customers? But people are showing up and we’re doing tons of takeout. It is difficult to operate in this environment, wearing face masks and gloves, constant sanitation and limited seating, but we’re doing our best and our food is awesome.”

Tierra y Fuego’s new spot on Broadway via Google Maps.

The Mexican restaurant sources most of its produce from its farm at 28th Street and Jay Road, including cilantro, lettuce, onions, radishes, and summer squash (basically everything in season) and looks to add some other local farms to its roster in the future. Local urban farmers Cody Jurbala and Melissa Ogilvie of Speedwell Farm and Gardens also farm on the Diaz Farm’s land and collaboratively contribute to its produce menu.

In addition to its new NoBo outpost, Tierra y Fuego still operates its food truck, which can often be found at Upslope Brewering Company off of 55th Street and Central Avenue.

Header Image: Delicious tacos on homemade tortillas at Tierra y Fuego’s food truck. Image: Eric Forbes.