Trejo is also greeted by an overly exuberant “Mr. Muscles” -- easily identified by his signature shirt and hat just as Trejo sports his own likeness on his clothing -- who recalls “pumping iron” with Trejo on Venice Beach back in the ‘80s. Trejo doesn’t remember the prior encounter, “Mr. Muscles” doesn’t seem to care.
“My mom always wanted a restaurant, she was a great cook,” Trejo tells us. “But my dad was kind of like the Mexican Archie Bunker, you know? He thought women should stay at home. Every time my mom would talk about a restaurant, my dad would say, 'We have a kitchen right there, make us something special.’ So, he wasn't a bad guy, it's just that's how it was [for him], women stayed at home.”
Trejo, on the other hand, encouraged his mother’s dream and continued to carry the culinary torch for her, “I told her one day, ‘Mom, I'm going to start making your salsa.' And I was doing a movie called Bad Ass, and Ash Shah was the producer, and he saw that I love to eat and that I love good food, and he does too. We're kind of foodies. So after I told him about my mom, he said, 'Danny why don't you open up a restaurant,' and jokingly I said, ‘Yeah, how about Trejo's Tacos.'"
As we pass the Cinerama Dome in the taco truck after leaving the fans behind at the TCL Chinese Theater, Trejo mentions that when he was 18 years old, he helped build the iconic dome. He confesses that his co-workers were not exactly drug-free while constructing the hundreds of concrete hexagonal panels in the San Fernando Valley, which were later assembled in Hollywood. “I get a little skeptical every time I go in there,” Trejo admits.
After working together on several movies, including Bad Ass 2 and more recently Bad Ass on the Bayou. Shah approached Trejo with a business plan for an eponymous restaurant. “I took it to my agent Gloria and my secretary Mary, and had them check it out,” Trejo says of the offer. “And they said, ‘This is the first business plan anybody's given you that you don't have to put up anything.’ People come to me with business plans all the time, but most of the time they're crap and ask me to put up $50,000 or something.” And with that the Trejo’s Tacos enterprise got underway with some serious momentum.