Awaiting Trial, Taco Truck Owner Works Hard to Get Lunch In Your Hands
Let’s talk about Eddie Moran’s schedule.
Because when you order a couple of tacos from him — you’ll find him in the green Taco’s Tacos trailer parked most weekdays alongside Colburn Park in Lebanon — things go fast. He lays out the homemade tortillas, spreads on shredded beef or chicken or pork or, if you're going vegan, black beans or zucchini, then tops everything with pico and some pickled red onions, cheese if you want it, maybe some spicy avocado salsa, and hands it over. A couple of minutes gone from your day and you’ve got lunch.
To make that speed happen, though? Something else entirely.
Start with the tortillas. Not that it’s hard, but pressing tortilla after tortilla after tortilla… 100 times, 150 times… that’s work. Eddie does some of it, but mostly his girlfriend, Cassandra, takes it on, and it’s huge. “I wouldn’t be making tacos if someone didn’t do it,” he says, because there’s a world of difference between homemade tortillas and not. Though the time they had to make almost 1000 of them… that tested their dedication to freshness. It's a good bet that tomorrow's Lebanon food truck festival will, too.
Eddie Moran takes a lunchtime order
Meanwhile, Eddie’s workday starts the night before: at around 9 pm — 10 on weekends — when he can begin prepping for the next day in the kitchen at Gusanoz, which is owned by his mom and step-dad. He works there until 1 or 2 in the morning, music blaring, chopping, cooking, tasting. Goes home to sleep for a bit, then is up getting his boys ready for school and heads back to the kitchen to heat everything that needs heating and then get it all packed carefully in the trailer so that he can be at Colburn Park by 9:30 am. Because if you’re a food-truck guy, just about the most annoying thing is finding someone’s car parked in your usual space. He winds down around 3 in the afternoon… unless someone’s parked in the space to the front of his trailer, which means that he can’t back in there and hitch up to go home until they’re gone.
Now let's talk about another fact of Eddie's life: the legal charge he faces for "conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance." In other words, for being the recipient of a shipment of 16 pounds of marijuana, for which he was arrested last September. He pled "not guilty," is out on bail, and, says his lawyer, George Ostler, "we expect the trial to be in the fall."
"The first couple of weeks after [the arrest] were tough," Eddie says. "I was trying to figure out if I'd have any customers left. It was going to get around in a small city like this." And it did. But as near as he can tell, no one's given up on his tacos. "I haven't had anyone give me grief. Though people have definitely asked me about it," he says.
So right now, he just wants to get through the summer; it's hard to see much beyond that. "I know it's there," he says of his trial. "What are you going to do?"
One thing you can do is make the most of running a taco truck, which is what he's wanted to do for a long time. A year ago, he found an old cupcake trailer from South Portland, Maine, on Craigslist. He's been a Colburn Park regular ever since, as well as a Sunday mainstay at the Abracadabra Coffee "popup" in Woodstock. He and Cassie do private events, as well -- over 20 of them so far.
Oh, those “couple of tacos” I mentioned up top? Hang out by the trailer long enough and you realize not many people order just two. “I’ll take two beef, one pork.” “Could I do one beef, one chicken, one pork?” “Hmmm… I might go with four today!” Whatever. They’re only $3 apiece. Sodas are just a buck.
“I like that people can pay with their little ziplock bag of change,” says Eddie.