• Why Jimboy's

    "The Jimboy"

    For six decades Jimboy’s has been bringing abundance of happiness into peoples’ lives by focusing on ONE THING: Serving our unique "The Jimboy" original ground beef taco.

    The Original American Taco

Decades of Knowledge

Founder Jim Knudson and his wife Margaret
The Original Taco Trailer
Vintage Photos of Jim and Margaret
Vintage Photos of Jim and Margaret
President of Jimboy’s Tacos Inc. Karen Knudson-Freeman
  • 1953: Founder Jim “Jimboy” Knudson tastes his first taco. That first bite convinced “Jimboy” that the taco would have universal appeal, so he began to develop his own recipe.
  • 1954: Jim and his wife Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a mobile kitchen, creating one of the first “food trucks” in the nation. That summer, the couple towed their trailer up to King’s Beach, Lake Tahoe and began selling Jimboy's tacos to customers.
  • 1958: Joe King (owner of King’s Beach) built a small building on North Tahoe Blvd. and the very first Jimboy’s Tacos restaurant was born. People could not get enough Jimboy’s tacos and word was spreading fast. That little taco stand became a favorite among locals and tourists alike, building quite a reputation. There was a good chance you would catch members of the famous “Rat Pack,” stars from the Bonanza TV show, and other well-known celebrities enjoying a Jimboy’s Taco!
  • 1959: The taco trailer was moved to the Denio’s Auction Yard in Roseville, California. Eventually, a permanent taco stand was opened, and even today the Knudson family is still selling tacos there during the busy weekends at Denio’s.
  • 1968: Jimboy’s Tacos began franchising, one of the first restaurant concepts to do so nationally.
  • 1979: Jim Knudson sold a master franchisor contract to three of his best franchisees, including Don Rapisura who eventually became the sole master franchisor.  Don’s leadership forged a surge in growth of Jimboy’s Tacos restaurants in Northern California and Nevada.
  • 1983: Jim Knudson retires from Jimboy’s Tacos, and he and his wife, Margaret begin a new food inspired mission: creating the best tasting chili. Their son, Scott Knudson, takes over as President of Jimboy's Tacos Inc. maintaining the Jimboy’s legacy, vision and philosophy.
  • 1987: Margaret Knudson wins the International Chili Society Cookoff.
  • 2006: Jim Knudson wins the International Chili Society Cookoff.
  • 2010: Scott Knudson retires and Karen Knudson-Freeman, Jim and Margaret's daughter, takes over as President of Jimboy’s Tacos Inc. Under Karen's leadership, the number of Jimboy’s Tacos locations continues to increase.
  • 2015 :Jimboy’s Tacos heads south to Orange County, CA, opening its first Southern California location.
  • 2016: Jimboy’s Tacos launches a brand refresh called “Reimaging Jimboy’s Today” featured at the opening of Jimboy’s Tacos in Anaheim, CA, across the street from Disneyland -- clearly making it the “happiest place on earth!”
  • 2017: Jimboy’s Taco re-launches its franchising program with a signed 20-unit deal in Southern California with a new franchise partner, and a development agreement for eight new locations in Northern California with a current longtime franchise partner.


Site Selection

You will receive assistance in employing a proven methodology for site selection identifying, evaluating, and securing sites that best meet our operating requirements.

Design &

Your Design and Construction team will roll up their sleeves early driving key milestones throughout each phase of the entire restaurant development process from dream floor plan to CO while ensuring high quality construction, on time! and on budget!


Your training team will provide highly effective training for you, your leaders, managers and team members. Our expertise, experience and hands on training approach will create the juice for an enhanced learning environment for franchise partners and team members.


Over the years we have perfected taco making. It’s simple, we follow three rules. We love our ingredients, we smile while we’re cooking and we repeat. We keep it simple and we work hard. We like to say happy guest, happy business.


After 64 for years of serving the most craveable taco on the planet, it’s safe to say that we know who we are. Our branding and marketing is simple. Feed hungry people tacos that they love and crave.


We will work hard, have fun and take a dollar spent serious. You will enjoy established purchasing contracts and rebate programs from many of our vendors. We continuously work at obtaining better pricing and service.


Our founder Jimboy was a shake hands and kiss babies kind of guy, but some things are just better, faster, cheaper utilizing technology. Our franchisees employ industry leading loyalty programs, mobile applications, POS and business enterprise systems and PCI compliance tool that rival any leading restaurant brand.

Who We Are

There is nothing more important to us than the preservation and continuation of Jimboy’s culture. Our company has been established by living the “Core Values” our founders Jim “Jimboy” and Margaret Knudson instilled in the company on the first day. Executive leadership and support team, franchisees, vendors, and stakeholders are all measured by these core values:

Do What's


There is

Always a way

Make a difference by

Helping others

Keep it





Karen Knudson-Freeman is the daughter of Jimboy’s Tacos Founder, James R. Knudson. Under her leadership, the Jimboy’s brand has transformed from a family-owned and operated local restaurant chain to an aggressively franchised restaurant leader. Karen is also the creative leader behind Jimboy’s menu, overseeing Research and Development of all new menu items. While she has a strong business acumen, her creative expertise is on display when creating “home-style” dishes that have been the cornerstone of the Jimboy’s flavor experience from the beginning.

The Jimboy’s Tacoburger!



Erik joined the Jimboy’s Tacos leadership team in 2012, bringing an expertise in finance and business operation. Erik graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and is a certified public accountant. He has expertly managed the growth and expansion that Jimboy’s Tacos has experienced over the years and leads a dedicated group of financial professionals. When he’s not counting tacos, you can find Erik sailing and fishing in Alaska, or playing a seriously competitive game of racquetball.

The 3 Cheese Quesadilla



Jim has over 40 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, business owner and business consultant. He has held licenses in real estate and construction and continued education in project management, business law, contract law, accounting, sales and marketing. Jim has worked on well over 1,000 projects ranging from residential, subdivisions, retail and commercial to consulting small businesses (both startup and established) in achieving their goals. Jim is a renaissance man who enjoys learning, adventure, life and above else, his family. He has commercial fished in Alaska and Oregon, been a performer/musician, endurance rider and holds a 4th degree black belt in Karate.

The “Jimboy Taco”–Our signature ground beef taco



Dina Guillen came to Jimboy’s Tacos from the agency world, specializing in strategic marketing, advertising and public relations. A brilliant marketer, Dina leads a team of talented designers, public relations, social media, loyalty rewards, and branding experts to build revenue-generating marketing strategies for the Jimboy’s Tacos brand. Dina is always thinking about the next promotional campaign, partnering with a charity to pay it forward, or planning the next exciting Grand Opening. In her spare time, Dina loves to write recipes and has published three cookbooks. She also loves to spend time with her husband and son attending baseball games for her favorite team, the San Francisco Giants.

The “Jimboy Taco” (our signature ground beef taco) with a Junior Bean and Cheese Burrito



Todd Swiderski joins Jimboy’s Tacos as the Director of Operations. Todd’s restaurant career began in the early nineties and quickly rose to an Executive Chef position with Marriott. Todd has since worked in multiple leadership roles with several concepts including Chicago Fire Pizza, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Chevy’s. Developing people and relationships is one of the things he is most passionate about. Todd has always believed in doing more for others than you do for yourself and states, "We should all live by the motto: Make someone's day, every day." In his spare time Todd enjoys woodworking as well as spending time with his wife and 4 children just hanging out together and making some great memories in their favorite place, Lake Tahoe.

The “Jimboy Taco”–Our signature ground beef taco



Jenny is the Director of Administration, managing the corporate office, HR and IT Departments. Jenny has over 25 years’ experience in the Information Technology field beginning her career by building an IT Help Desk for the Crown Law Dept., at the Dept. of Justice in her native land of Australia. In 1996 she moved to the USA to take a job with Intel.  Since then Jenny has been an integral part of many businesses including working as an IT Director for a non-profit in Davis.  In 2007, Jenny started her own company assisting businesses with their Social Media and website needs. Jenny was a consultant to Jimboy’s Tacos and in 2012 was hired to manage the office of Jimboy’s North America and its IT needs.

Grilled Chicken Taco and Junior Bean Burrito