An Architect Whose Passion Is Building Tacos

There is so much I can relate to in the story of Christian Pineda, a San Diego-born and raised architect who left sunny SoCal and his career in architecture to follow his passion and build a taco business in New York City. He’s now the founder of an award-winning taqueria, Los Tacos No.1, located in Chelsea Market.

Christian’s story is part of The Collective, a storytelling series from Tequila Don Julio that follows the journey of several individuals who followed their dream by making bold moves just like Don Julio González. They parallel the story of Don Julio González, a man who followed his true passion in an uncompromising way. Following a courageous path with passion, he redefined the world’s perception of what tequila could be.

An Architect Whose Passion Is Building Tacos

Instead of building actual structures, Christian felt a strong desire to build tacos (and his own business). He explains, “We knew that in order to succeed as architects we could not work for architects anymore.” This is exactly how I felt at the moment I knew I needed to quit my job and pursue Design Milk full-time. It was time to make a bold move. Leaving an old career behind to do something completely new and different is not only risky, it’s terrifying. But Christian was brave and passionate enough about bringing fantastic tacos to the people of NYC that he took the risk—and it paid off.

As an architect, it was Christian’s desire to impact people in a positive way—to make a difference in their lives somehow. What he soon realized was that as a restaurant owner, he was impacting hundreds of lives on a daily basis. Growing up, it was clear what he wanted to do. “I think I first discovered it when I was a kid. I grew up in that business, my father was a builder and my mother was in real estate. I always knew I wanted to build whether I was building with LEGO or 2x4s. I just never imagined I was going to end up building tacos.”

An Architect Whose Passion Is Building Tacos

But it wasn’t an easy road. As the saying goes, the road worth taking is always the hardest one. In the first two weeks Christian and his business partner experienced a lot of obstacles. Having never been in the restaurant industry before, neither of them knew much about how to run a successful food business. “We were all finished with the easy stuff, which was building the shop, branding it, decorating it, etc.,” Christian explains, “Now we had to prepare to serve over five hundred people on a daily basis for the rest of our times. That was when it hit us.”

Christian and his partner were determined to make it work and they took it one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other. In no time, it seemed that word of their tacos—and their service—spread. “It’s fascinating to see all our customers not only enjoying our tacos but also that rich warm culture you find behind our counter.”

Watch his story:

Hear the rest of the stories on the Tequila Don Julio Collective website.

What’s your passion? How will you make your move? Tell us in the comments!

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