Roadside food stand dishes up Tac-o’ de Town

SALISBURY — Dot D’Avignon has a sweet tooth. One day, when she was 14, she succumbed to her want for sugar and made herself a cake. From there, a love of cooking was born and she hasn’t stopped since.
Last May, D’Avignon opened Tac-o’ de Town — a food trailer that, as the name suggests, specializes in tacos and other Mexican cuisine. Her trailer is located in Salisbury, 293 Route 7 South to be exact, in a lot beside Robinson Transport. D’Avignon, who came to Vermont in 1984 and now lives in Leicester, said she first thought about opening her own place 25 years ago, however, it wasn’t until last year that the timing felt right.
“You get to a point where you don’t want to work for other people any more because it’s not as fulfilling as having your own something to do,” she said in a recent interview.
Prior to opening the trailer, she worked for nine years as the cook at Shoreham Elementary School. She retired from that position in April. Though she said she enjoyed her time at the school, she missed interacting with people on a regular basis.
Cooking in the trailer, she gets to meet lots of folks. “I like that I get to talk to people,” she said.
D’Avignon bought her food trailer on Craig’s List, where it was listed by the owners of a campground who used it at their mini golf course.
“It was good looking; everything was clean: it had equipment; it was great,” she said. “It wasn’t getting much use (at the campground) because people usually bring their own food.
When she first bought the trailer, she planned on creating a traditional grab-and-go menu: burgers and fries. When she shared her plan with friends and family, they were not enthusiastic about the idea and urged her to try something different. Her daughter Lyndsay suggested tacos.
“I was like ‘nah, nah, nah,’ I’m gonna do burgers and fries, people love burgers and fries,” she said. “(But) if you think about, from Taco Bell in Rutland to McDonald’s in Middlebury, there are like eight places where you can get burgers and fries, but there’s no place to get tacos. And so (Lindsay) was onto something.”
She said she ran her daughter’s suggestion by her friends and family and they all endorsed the idea.
“I didn’t look back for a second,” she said. “I think it was a very wise choice.”
When she set out to design the stand’s menu, she used her daughter and her daughter’s friends as taste-testers. “They all thought it was great, they liked the way it was and I went with it,” she said. “I haven’t changed a thing.”
Today, Tac-o’ de Town’s menu is comprised of burritos, enchiladas, quesadilla, black bean burgers, nachos and more. She also offers several vegetarian dishes, including a vegetarian burrito comprised of flour tortilla, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese, beans, poblano rice, pico de gallo and homemade lime crema.
D’Avignon said the most popular food choice by far is burritos, followed by tacos and taco bowls. For D’Avignon, the key to making a good burrito is to use various ingredients in ways that complement one another.
The first step D’Avignon takes, after placing the tortilla on the griddle, is to add cheese, because, she says, properly melting the cheese is essential to a good burrito. Then, she adds the meat, rice, a mixture of black and pinto beans, pico de gallo and her homemade lime crema. A good burrito, she said, must be one that properly balances the different temperatures and textures of the ingredients.
Throughout her life, D’Avignon said she has tried doing other things, however, she has always come back to cooking.
“There’s nothing like somebody who’s hungry,” she said. “The whole taste and texture… I mean I could eat all day long; I could just eat all day long.
“Even if you’re not hungry it’s just that taste, the texture, the chew and the flavors and everything all together. It’s always been so gratifying to me for people to be satisfied with food, with anything, but food especially because I have such a connection with it.”
She said that, for her, the love of cooking comes from the thrill of seeing a smile appear on someone’s face after they bite into something they love.
“It’s gratifying. It’s satisfying,” she said. “It makes me happy that people are happy when they eat something that they like.”

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