By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
You may not have recognized Gracias Señor’s typical all-black taqueria in a Metro by T-Mobile commercial that aired on Thursday, February 6—especially without its signature avocado on its rear.
Gracias Señor’s Rodolfo Barrientos recently caught up with the Palisadian-Post to shed light on the shoot and how the use of his truck was representative of the “young and adventurous entrepreneur” Doomsday Entertainment wanted to capture in its production.
The truck was made to look timeworn, and the commercial features actress Sophie Hoyt as “Daniella” who works a food truck and is described as “taking things into her own hands, hustling to open a business of her own”—reminiscent of Barrientos’ own entrepreneurial journey that is only going up, but definitely didn’t start out that way.
Barrientos left his managerial position overseeing Pinkberry Third Street Promenade, Brentwood and Beverly Hills with the intent to start his own business in 2013.
“Pinkberry was a start-up company and it allowed me to see how that is: all the growing pains, all the challenges, but also the celebration that comes once you conquer those challenges,” Barrientos said to the Post. “Being in that environment helped me see that being an entrepreneur is really fun.”
He partnered with a manager who saw his drive and offered to split the cost of a truck 50/50 in pursuit of starting their own food truck. After handing over his fair share, Barrientos never heard from him again.
Barrientos found himself at a loss, but months later and with the help of his biggest supporter, his mother, he was able to purchase the truck he is still seen driving today.
“I started with the highest of hopes, like any young entrepreneur, I was realizing my dream and there was so much potential,” Barrientos said. “But then again, another hit of reality, it’s not that easy.”
Barrientos was faced with a number of challenges—from burning his eyebrows off on his first day on the job—to figuring out how to earn the trust of the community.
Before planting his truck on Sunset Boulevard, Barrientos spent roughly two years on Temescal Canyon, dedicated to serving fresh Mexican food daily and targeting more local customers.
“It’s more private in Temescal, the truck doesn’t really bother anyone,” Barrientos shared. “But I’m the type of person who goes all in … You have to risk it to see what happens, and if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried.”
And since then, it has graciously worked out for the entrepreneur and favored taqueria.
Barrientos, who resides in Koreatown and began attending California State University Los Angeles last fall, is ever-grateful for the relations he has had the chance to build in his time on the Westside and doesn’t plan on taking his truck anywhere else (for now).
“I just want to say thank you to the community of the Palisades and everyone that’s given us support because it really does make a difference in our lives, everyone that’s involved with the truck, we do it because we enjoy it and we do it happily,” Barrientos said about the support Gracias Señor has received.
“We thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your community.”