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Tucson food truck's business sizzles thanks to bacon wrapped burritos

Percheron's specialty item is drawing crowds
Percheron Mexican Grill's Sonoran influence is on display with its billing as 'Home of the Bacon Wrapped Burrito'
Posted at 9:52 PM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-13 00:46:16-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Percheron Mexican Grill is one of the several food trucks parked on the South Side of Tucson.

But it has a menu item that sets it apart: bacon-wrapped burritos.

The specialty first became famous in Sonora, Mexico, where owner Diego Valencia grew up.

“So we hear about it, and we start to make bacon-wrapped burritos here,” said Valencia, who started making them with his brother and claims they were the first duo to bring the dish to the U.S.

The two have branded Percheron Mexican Grill as ‘Home of the Bacon Wrapped Burrito.’

Percheron, which is the Spanish word for a Clydesdale horse, opened in 2013 on 12th Avenue at Irvington Road. There is a second location at the Boxyard on 4th Avenue.

The food truck was previously known as ‘WhataBurro.’ Valencia says he changed the name after Whataburger’s legal team urged him to do so, but that he now likes the new name and identity.

There are burritos without bacon and other items on the menu, but Valencia says his brother came up with the idea of serving the trademark dish.

“I was thinking more diversity, like more kind of burritos,” he recalled. “But he told me, just concentration in one kind, and do it good. Only make one, but do it good.”

That strategy, plus word of mouth and traction on social media have led to a booming business, growing over the years.

It’s been a big step for Valencia, who says he would deliver burritos on his bicycle around the city when he first came to Tucson at age 18. During that time he nearly decided to go back home to Mexico.

“But I felt something inside of me, it say, you better try to put a food truck and start to make burritos here,” he said. “And no more delivery, just one point.”

Valencia and his mother rented a food truck and started the business in September of 2013.

“I felt sad because she passed away in June in 2015 in Mexico and I not be there with her, but I know she feel my dreams and everything and that’s the best option, what I do for my family,” Valencia said, holding back tears. “And I know she’s waiting for me over there.”

Valencia now owns the food truck while his brother runs the 4th Avenue location. Most of the employees remain from the early days of the business, and Valencia says they all feel like family now.

Still, he has another goal: to open a restaurant in Tucson.

“It’s my dream, you know? It’s really difficult, it’s really difficult,” he said. “More job, more stress, more pressure. But I’m gonna fight to do it.”