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Special to the Enquirer

All in the name

Local family opens restaurant after years of planning 

Manuel and Salvadora Roman said they have long dreamed of owning their own authentic taqueria – a dream that has spanned generations. For the past 12 years, the family has worked to make that dream come true, spending most of their weekends working at the Lacon flea market to save up money for a store front. 

Sept. 21 brought saw that dream come to fruition for the family, when they officially opened the doors to Taqueria Guerro in Hartselle. 

Mannon Roman’s grandparents own the restaurant and cook most of the food. Mannon said everything is homemade and authentic to where his grandparents grew up. 

“For 12 years they had a restaurant in the flea market at Lacon, and we did that every weekend. We sold street tacos, burritos and home-cooked meals,” Mannon said. “They always wanted a taqueria; (Salvadora) has always cooked and has always been interested in cooking. 

“Once we finally saved up enough money, we moved to Hartselle. We chose Hartselle because there was not any true authentic taquerias in Hartselle,” Mannon said. “We wanted to stick to who we are as people and show what you would see if you went to Guerrero, Mexico, and got tacos there. It is in the name.”

Mannon’s aunt and restaurant CEO, Alma Roman, said the restaurant is also unique in that it is something the whole family is passionate about. 

“Everyone grew up working at the taqueria at the flea market in Lacon. From the oldest, that is now 22 years old, to the one that is 16 years old, everyone has worked there,” Alma said. “Everyone started getting paid and paying their own bills at a really young age. The flea market was 12 years, and everyone grew up there.”

Prior to the spot in Lacon, Manuel and Salvadora owned a small supermarket in Guerro, where they sold authentic drinks. When the couple made their way to America in the ’70s, they began selling fruit at a booth in Lacon, which gradually grew into the taqueria. 

Alma translated for Manuel as he expressed his gratitude to the community for all the support they have received in their opening. “We started from the lowest of lowest, and with hard work, it is all coming together,” he said.

Salvadora also expressed her gratitude to Alma, saying she appreciated all the new clientele that comes to try their food. 

The Romans donated all of their profits from their opening day to St. Ann’s Catholic Church, where they attend. “(Salvadora) was surprised by all the compliments we received that day,” Alma said.

Mannon said so far the tacos have been their biggest hit, but everything has been received well. 

“(Manuel and Salvadora) said the other night that never in a million years would they have thought people would have done this and supported us as much as they have,” Mannon said. “I think the reason Hartselle and the surrounding areas have been so open and supportive is because of our story, and that’s what we want to continue to show. It’s all family, and that’s why we want to do this.”

The Romans are still working to finalize their menu and hours but are currently open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant is located at 587 US-31 in suite G in Hartselle.