The avocado food trend isn’t new, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious! With that in mind, this month’s Best New Jersey Food Trucks spotlight is all about The Guac Spot. Husband-and-wife duo, John and Syl Gonzalez, operate the popular food truck. These natives of Little Falls, NJ, set out for a new adventure after years in corporate America.
Now, what began as an enjoyable—though exhausting—family business is flourishing into a rewarding career.
Both John and Syl are veterans of the food truck business. Even still, they continue to bring fans new and dynamic avocado-centric items every season. “Avocado lovers, rejoice!” Syl said, speaking to Best of NJ.
The Guac Spot offers “artfully-crafted, avocado-inspired eats,” as they say. But don’t group them in the same category as your favorite taco trucks. Syl, of Italian and Jamaican descent, and John, of Puerto Rican descent, put much of their cultures into their food.
“We’re not an authentic, classic Mexican taco truck,” said Syl. “We don’t want to be categorized as a ‘taco truck.’ We make tacos, and that’s one of our most popular items, but we make so many other things. We’re avocado-themed, and we bring a lot of our cultural backgrounds to it. We like to get creative, and it’s important that it’s just so different.”
The Northern New Jersey-natives are self-proclaimed “workaholics;” the couple even met at work. After marrying and having children, John and Syl set their sights on something new; a business where they could be their own bosses and continue their love for fun challenges and hard work. As a result, The Guac Spot was born.
Flash forward to present day, The Guac Spot has become a big name in New Jersey’s food truck scene. They admit, however, that their success comes with a lot of hard work attached.
“This is a business where you have to love what you do,” John explained. “If you don’t love what you do, you’re going to be miserable.”
Want to learn more about The Guac Spot, including their history, menu, and of course, their delicious guacamole? Then continue reading below for our exclusive interview with John and Syl! They even have some big plans in store for the future of the brand and their event calendar; be sure to follow them on Instagram and Twitter so you don’t miss their latest updates.
The Best New Jersey Food Trucks: The Guac Spot Interview
Best of NJ: Why guac?
Syl: We really started off thinking that we wanted to start our own business. We both had corporate jobs and were really going crazy with 12-hour and 16-hour days. We were missing a lot of stuff—stuff at home, with the kids, with each other. So we were really trying to find a business that we wanted to do together. We tried a thousand and one things. Then when we directed it toward food, we went through several ideas, but then we landed on guac; because every time we would go somewhere, that’s what everyone would ask us to bring.
We originally wanted to put it on a store shelf. But our guac is very different from what you’d find in the store. And when we started researching it, we found out why; because there are so many requirements, and that destroys the avocado completely. So instead of bearing with it and going that route, we decided that we still wanted to share our guac.
BONJ: How did you settle on selling your products from a truck?
John: As far as the food truck, it was actually kind of a tough decision for us. We were always back and forth with either storefront, restaurant/café, or food truck; and we saw that food trucks were really taking off and people were really into them.
One of the things we love about the food truck is that we can go to our customers. We’re able to travel around; we’re not in one place in one location. We really enjoy being able to travel around and visit different places.
BONJ: What was it like when you first started out?
Syl: Starting out, we were actually under a tent for two years. We would set up a tent for a street fair or food festival or beer festival; and it took around three hours just to unload and get the coolers out. It was a lot of work, but we lost a ton of weight [laughs].
BONJ: Do you remember your first event that you attended with the tent?
Syl: Yes, that was obscene. It was at the Sussex County Fair Grounds, and we did the Taco Festival. It was pouring rain. The event was on a dirt field. The event was so slammed with people that every vendor had an hour and a half wait. Even in the rain, people did not care—they were just there for tacos, and they weren’t leaving. So we kept serving and serving. We did so well as a new vendor that we said, “Yes! This is what we’re going to do for the rest of our lives!” [Laughs].
BONJ: The Guac Spot has really been a family business, right?
John: Yeah, what’s nice is that the way we started this business and helped build it up is with our family. That’s one of the things we enjoy the most. Our kids were involved; my mother was involved; my sister now is still involved—she’s on with us pretty much full-time. So we built up this business with the family.
BONJ: What roles did your family members play?
Syl: We’d all be up making guacamole together until 2:00 – 3:00 am [laughs].
John: My father was in there, and he would help us make food and be our dishwasher. I mean, he was everything. My mom would be in there, too. My sister, who is still with us, she actually helps run a couple of our farmers markets; and she works with us on the truck. Our oldest son is coming back to work with us. Our youngest son is our chip boxer. He boxes chips like a machine [laughs]. The two of us with my brother-in-law actually built out the truck together. So he’s actually our plumber, our electrician, our general contractor.
BONJ: You got a new truck last year, and your first event with it was at Six Flags in Jackson. Talk about that.
John: That was awesome. It really was. It was kind of one of those moments when you feel like you finally made it. There was no better feeling than being able to drive up to Six Flags in your food truck and it be your first event.
Syl: We were alongside a lot of the vendors we really looked up to. And it was a humbling experience, really cool.
BONJ: Tell us about the guacamole.
John: I think a couple different things go into our guac. For one, it’s how much care we put into it, really.
Syl: As far as differentiation, I would say that some people use lemon for their guac; but we use lime, strictly. And your tomatoes are super, super important. And fresh cilantro is another thing. There’s another difference that we don’t share [laughs].
John: And what’s really important is the freshness of the guac. So we’ll go to farmers markets and food events, and our guac is made fresh the day of the event. All of our ingredients are fresh and there are no preservatives, no thickeners; which means it lasts a limited amount of time as if you made it at home. We take pride in that, though. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re not in stores. So I think it’s really important to note that.
BONJ: Is there anything you serve without avocado?
Syl: There actually is one thing on our truck without guacamole in it: rice and beans. We make a coconut rice and beans. That is the only item on the truck that doesn’t have avocado in it.
BONJ: What kind of desserts do you offer?
John: A couple of the most popular desserts are our homemade avocado ice cream and the Chocolate Dipped Avocado & Maple Bacon Cannolis. People love those.
BONJ: What do people think when they see your truck for the first time?
Syl: I notice that at a lot of these food truck festivals, people sometimes don’t know what to make of us. They’ll come up to the truck and say, ‘Oh, I love avocado!’ But then they look at our menu and expect it to be much more in line with Chipotle or Taco Bell, and it’s not. So the first time at a specific event is usually explaining what we offer; the second time is our sweet spot.
Want to learn more about The Best New Jersey Food Trucks? Then click here for the full series.
All Photos: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ