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THE WHY: How National Taco Day started in Texas

Before restaurants claimed National Taco Day, activists in San Antonio used the food as a political tool in support of Hispanic Americans.

SAN ANTONIO — Why is the story behind National Taco Day about a lot more than just a celebration of one of Texan's favorite foods?


San Antonio Civic Organization

According to the author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, the story starts in San Antonio. Roberto L. Gomez, the head of the San Antonio Social Civic Organization, came up with a unique idea to remind politicians in Washington about the political power of Hispanic American. He sent fellow Texan, President Lyndon B. Johnson, a 55 pound taco. The successful PR stunt helped launch the National Taco Council.


National Taco Week

 By 1967 the council helped convince San Antonio to declare the days leading up to Cinco de Mayo "National Taco Week." In a proclamation, the city's Mayor noted that San Antonio was the quote "originator of Mexican food in the United States." While some other Texas cities might want to dispute that claim, it did get the attention of power players in Washington.


80's Restaurants revived

In 1968, Congressman Henry Gonzalez declared National Taco Week from the floor of Congress. And it became standard practice for politicians campaigning in the lone star state to declare their love of all things taco. But by the 80's, everyone seems to have forgotten about celebrating this culinary creation. That's when the restaurants stepped in, with everyone from Taco Bell to Chuy's declaring their own taco day. Then in 2010, Taco Cabana - conveniently based in San Antonio - announced October 4th was Taco Day. And like the food it is celebrating, this holiday seems to be sticking around.

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