Jimboy’s Tacos had humble beginnings, debuting in a small trailer on Kings Beach in Tahoe, California in May of 1954. Started by Jim “Jimboy” Knudson, it began with Jim’s recipe for his signature taco, packed with the perfect balance of flavors and textures, all encased in his famous crispy, Parmesan dusted stone ground corn tortilla.
Traffic began to pick up, fueled in large part by positive word-of-mouth from locals in the area. In the spring of 1958, Joe King, owner of King’s Beach and a huge fan of Jimboy’s Tacos, built a small building on North Tahoe Boulevard for the sole purpose of giving Jimboy’s a more permanent home.
Celebrities performing in the famous CalNeva Lodge in Tahoe, including members of the famous “Rat Pack,” Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, began hearing about Jimboy’s Tacos and making trips to the new storefront. All three stars from “Bonanza,” including Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon, were sometimes seen at Jimboy’s Tacos. They would send someone to order tacos for the crew and stars, when they were filming in the area. Countless other stars of the 60’s and 70’s began discovering Jimboy’s Tacos at the same time.
In 1969, Jim began franchising and the Jimboy’s Tacos phenomenon grew from a small trailer on the shores of Kings Beach, into almost 40 locations throughout the Sacramento and Tahoe areas.
Jimboy’s Tacos has built a large and loyal following of fans because the commitment to using fresh, quality ingredients has never changed. Looking back over the years, Jimboy’s Tacos was ahead of its time in going farm-to-table, which is now a trend in many restaurants. From the very beginning, Jimboy’s Tacos focused on freshness and quality, using only fresh, premium local ingredients, preparing food from scratch daily, and cooking in small batches to ensure freshness.
While Jimboy’s Tacos is perhaps most famous for its signature crispy, Parmesan dusted tacos, the grilled burritos have also earned a loyal following. Stuffed with fresh, good quality, homemade ingredients, our classic burritos are then finished on the grill to seal them shut and give them a nice crisp exterior. Enchiladas, salads, burrito bowls, breakfast entrees, and our signature “Taco Burger” are also inspired by Jim and his commitment to focus on “fresh, quality ingredients with the best taste at an affordable price.”
In addition to the food, Jim Knudson focused on helping people who worked hard to make their own way, because that was his philosophy. He was always helping out employees who were struggling financially, either with a loan or just paying a bill for them. He was extremely fair minded, and both Jim and his wife Margaret would go out of their way to help others, even in a moment’s notice. They also believed in giving back to the community that welcomed and supported each new store to their neighborhood. Whether it was through giving donations to local charities, engaging in philanthropic activity, providing jobs for families in the community, it was important to always give back and thank the families and communities that supported Jimboy’s Tacos.
Jimboy’s Tacos recently launched a “Dine and Donate” program, offering a charitable donation to local organizations that host a dining event at any of our nearly 40 participating locations. Our contribution is based on 20% of the net sales from guests that bring in a “Dine and Donate” flyer for the organization’s specific event. Since the fundraising takes place at the local Jimboy’s Taco restaurant, the money that is raised will benefit the communities in which we live, work, and play.
Although he wasn’t actively involved in the operations in his later years, Jim was always very concerned about, and closely monitored, the style and quality of the restaurants bearing his name up until his death in 2011 at the age of 95.
Jim’s vision and philosophy is a guiding force for his daughter, Karen Knudson-Freeman, who took over as President and CEO of Jimboy’s Tacos in 2010. The number of Jimboy’s Tacos locations continues to increase, but our menu still reflects Jim’s distinct and unique cooking style and commitment to freshness and quality.
In 2012, Karen revealed that Jimboy’s Tacos would remodel all of its nearly 40 restaurants to reflect a fresh, new adventure-themed prototype by the end of 2016. The adventure aspect reinforces Jimboy’s branding efforts around a fun, entertaining place to eat, while maintaining the food’s integrity and commitment to freshness, quality and the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Jimboy’s Tacos recently partnered with real estate company, The Krrish Group, to bring Jimboy’s Tacos to India. The Krrish Group, as Master Franchisee of Jimboy’s Tacos, will launch the multi-store opening in India later this year. The first restaurant is slated to open in September 2014, with 7-10 more restaurants opening in the next two years.
We’ve worked very hard to maintain the quality of our food and customer dining experience while building our brand and keeping it new and relevant. After 60 years, we’re proud that we’re still getting rave reviews, and creating a crave-able food experience is a big part of it. We will always care, and we will always work hard, to ensure that Jim’s vision is carried through, and our customers continue receiving the quality of food and service that led us to celebrating 60 years in business.