SAN ANTONIO -

Far from its original location near Hildebrand and McCullough, Helen Velesiotis, owner of Taco Taco Café, said she will open a franchise in Raleigh, N.C, the first of five in that state, starting next year.  

“We’re looking beyond San Antonio, all over the United States, all over the world, actually,” Velesiotis said.

She said investors recently approached her, in large part because of the national exposure given her tiny restaurant over the last few years, from “Best Tacos in America” by Bon Appetit magazine to being featured by “Drive-ins, Diners and Dives” on the Food Network.

Velesoitis said it took her a long time to reach this point.

“It just seemed the right time and it was in my heart always that Taco Taco was going to go somewhere in the world,” Velesoitis said.

She said the family-run business has prospered thanks to her dedicated, hard-working staff and faithful customers over the past 14 years.

“I have to believe this. It’s a miracle, David and Goliath. I’m just a small person and God came into my place,” Velesoitis said.

Among those in line waiting for one of 14 tables inside was a group of Trinity University alumni who said they wanted to eat breakfast again at Taco Taco like they used to when they were students.

Hearing of its expansion plans, one of them said, “I’m from the Midwest and no one knows about ... breakfast tacos. The more you can spread it, the more successful she’ll be.”

Another chimed in that it was like spreading the gospel of Mexican food, “One taco at a time.”

But a relatively new patron also voiced his concern that becoming a franchise could hurt Taco Taco’s long-standing reputation as a cozy place to enjoy fresh, authentic Mexican food.

Velesoitis said the new locations may be more medium in size, but “I’m going to make sure I’m going to be there when they open up and any time they need help, I’m going to be right there for them.”