By Sara Paul
Warwick Valley High School Class of 1991 Chad Wieber and his friend Bo Kennedy had always dreamed of opening a restaurant. Ten years ago, that sweet dream became a spicy reality.
Wieber and Kennedy opened up Taco Hombre in Warwick in 2010 and have been happily serving up crowd favorites from burritos and taquitos to tostada salads and burro bowls ever since.
When the COVID-19 health pandemic hit hard this March, the restaurateurs felt some pangs of fear, but kept right on serving, as well as helping their fellow community members.
Wieber admits when the coronavirus restrictions first began, he was very nervous.
“Honestly, at times I wanted to cry. It was painful, and there was not a good outlook,” said Wieber, adding that as Taco Hombre is a takeout eatery, despite the challenges, they were still able to operate.
Kennedy said, “When Covid-19 hit it was scary from a business perspective. Being that we already did a lot of takeout, the transition for us didn’t take too long. We are still down in numbers, but we were able to keep our staff employed and have had some really busy weekends. Its been a steep learning curve figuring out how to serve our customers now that we are 100% takeout, but we keep striving to make operations more efficient.”
The owners also reiterate that customers are regularly placing orders via phone and their app from ChowNow, as well as their website and Facebook, and that patrons must wear masks when in the building.
“We have great customers. Times are different, but man, it could always be a lot worse,” Wieber said.
The life long Warwick residents continue to have great concern for some of their restaurant owner friends who have closed their doors temporarily.
“I feel so much for the folks that aren’t opening up. They are taking a big hit. Everybody is nervous and understandably so,” said Wieber.
A Surprisingly Profitable Cinco de Mayo
As the popular Mexican themed holiday Cinco de Mayo approached in the height of the COVD-19 pandemic, the Taco Hombre team was unsure of what to expect on what is typically one of the busiest days of the year for the popular locale.
“We were nervous. I cannot lie. We were very nervous, but it turned out to be a decent day… Folks are tired of cooking at home… I know my wife is,” laughed Wieber.
Kennedy continued, “It was the busiest day we ever had. We are so fortunate to have amazing customers and hardworking staff.”
With times tough and wallets tight, Taco Hombre proprietors didn’t think twice about supporting their Warwick neighbors. Participating in the Meal Train program and donating gift cards to first responders, to name a few, Wieber and Kennedy are committed to helping others.
Kennedy said, “Without the community, there is no Taco Hombre. We give back wherever we can.”
“It’s tricky times, but we will take a bit of a financial hit if we can help out,” commented Wieber.
Ponders the current situation, Wieber thoughtfully declares, “Calm heads prevail. We gotta regroup and stick it out. We’ll be fine.”
Taco Hombre is currently open every day from 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Taco Hombre owners (from left) Chad Wieber & Bo Kennedy are happy to help out their Warwick community during the COVID-19 health pandemic.