Rusty Taco rebrands as Rowdy Taco

Published on Sunday, 6 July 2014 20:55 - Written by CASEY MURPHY cmurphy@tylerpaper.com

David Weaver has renamed and rebranded his Rusty Taco restaurants.

Now Rowdy Taco, the restaurants have an expanded menu and a different look.

“That’s really what this brand is all about — good food and having fun,” Weaver said. “Everybody needs to get rowdy every once in a while.”

The restaurant doesn’t just serve tacos anymore. Customers also can dine on salads, combo bowls, nachos and quesadillas. They offer ghost cheese, made with derivatives of ghost peppers, reportedly the hottest chili pepper, and they also have a kid’s menu.

“For us, it was an opportunity to develop our own brand,” Weaver said of evolving the restaurant. “You’re always looking for the ability to have your own personality and stamp on life.”

Breaking away from Rusty Taco, Weaver is the only original partner remaining in the local venture. Along with his partner, Colin Marino, owns the two Tyler restaurants, as well as one in Longview and one in Waco.

There are still Rusty Tacos in Dallas that are owned by others. Rusty Fenton, the founder of the restaurant chain, died in June after a bout with cancer.

Weaver and his partner, Colin Marino, of Tyler, own the Rowdy Taco brand and have two of the restaurants in Tyler, as well as one in Longview and one in Waco.

Rusty Taco restaurants in Dallas have other owners and will remain the same.

Rowdy Taco is a new brand Weaver and Marino have been working on since becoming partners about six months ago. He said they decided to open a restaurant in Waco because of all of the excitement there and because it is a town similar in size to Tyler and they understand the dynamics of it.

Because of the success of that restaurant, which opened a month ago, the men decided to convert the Rusty Tacos in Tyler and Longview, starting with the restaurant on Beckham Avenue on June 23. The store on South Broadway Avenue will follow today and Longview’s restaurant will be converted in about three weeks.

“Right now, our main focus is to perfect the concept and recipes and get feedback from the customers,” Weaver said when asked if he’d open additional restaurants. “If there’s a demand for it, then yeah, we will continue to grow.”

The men were brainstorming on a new name when a friend and customer named Rowdy walked in, Weaver said. The new brand also includes a new color scheme, red and black, and new artwork. They are building a bar at the Beckham store.

Weaver said they sometimes offer live music on the restaurants’ patios and give back to local charities. There are about 15 employees at each store.

“I think anytime you change concepts and names, people are curious,” Weaver said. “But once they eat the food, people are happy.”