Community Giving

The TaKo Mobile Takes on a New Life!

47387_756734211464_7341300_nI will never forget the day that TaKorean’s food truck hit the streets to serve the District’s first Korean tacos. At the time there were less than 10 food trucks in DC. As we arrived at Franklin Park we already had a line of hungry customers there to greet us. It was one of the most intimidating and terrifying moments in my life, but since that day it has been such an incredible journey.

Some of my fondest memories over the last five years are from my time spent on the food truck. I remember only three weeks after we opened, the team and I were driving back to our kitchen after a busy lunch at Farragut Square and as one of my co-workers handed me a jarritos soda I accidentally took my foot off the brake and before I knew it we slammed into the back of a DC police cruiser. Luckily I got off with a $25 ticket for “failure to pay attention.” It turned out the officer was interested in opening a food truck of his own and started grilling me with questions. My experiences on the truck were so memorable because we had the opportunity to connect with people all over DC. Seeing people’s faces through the service window was my favorite part of the day.

As a founding member of the DMV Food Truck Association, we successfully established a platform to support the existence and growth of food trucks in the District while balancing the interests of the public, local government, and restaurants. I loved the opportunity to work with other small business owners and develop a vibrant food truck scene here in the DC. I remember our food truck policy meetings at Duffy’s bar on 9th street where we discussed over wings and beer how to prevent restaurant special interests from crushing our hopes and dreams. We became a strong resource for one another and in fact it helped me grow TaKorean to where it is today.

Since 2010, TaKorean has expanded to three fixed locations in DC. As we continue to grow into more brick and mortar locations, we decided for this year’s 1% for DC donation, to donate the food truck to a local nonprofit organization, Arcadia. It is a bittersweet transition because we’ve loved the truck and built our business out of it, but we know the possibilities and new future it has in front of it!FieldTrip1

Arcadia is dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system in the Washington, DC area. Based on the historic grounds of Woodlawn Estate in Alexandria, Virginia, Arcadia manages four distinct program areas that address a specific need in the community, while collectively engaging consumers, farmers, schools, and institutions.

Mobile Market Menu Planning (1)
One such program is Arcadia’s
Mobile Markets; farm-stands-on-wheels that distribute local, sustainably produced food to underserved communities in the Washington, DC area. The mission of Arcadia’s Mobile Markets is to improve access to healthy, affordable food regardless of where you live or how much you earn. The Markets do this by operating regularly scheduled stops in low-income, food-insecure communities; offering high quality, locally grown, sustainably produced farm products at affordable prices; and providing educational resources for how to prepare the market’s offerings in nutritious ways.

With four years of the Mobile Market under their belt, they’ve learned that the last long mile for their customers in accessing healthy foods – particularly those who have lived in food deserts for a long time – is knowing how to prepare the food so it tastes as good as the convenience foods that form the cornerstone of their diets.

The TaKorean food truck will become a year-round mobile teaching location that will provide cooking classes in low-income communities, schools and health festivals. Arcadia will enhance their culinary education by bringing the vehicle to places stocked with with cooking kits and an educator, and to use the vehicle to collect the stories of the people Arcadi serves.

2ssArcadia is also drawing up plans to make a few changes inside the vehicle that would optimize it for the “cottage industry act” – allowing people to cook in a health inspected commercial kitchen on wheels. They are working on a collaboration with two other nonprofits to bring this all to fruition and are seeking additional funding!

We are so excited to see the TaKo truck take on a new life and continue to provide food to the residents of DC. Check back in the new year when we visit the farm and take a ride on the renovated truck!

An exciting spring update!


We are excited to announce the opening of our first location in Northwest DC! We will debut an extended pop-up location in the Eat at National Place food hall located at 13th & F Street, NW early this summer.

We will now be able to service patrons in the heart of downtown Washington. We’ve been eager to serve our existing base of food truck customers in this area and we’re excited to continue to grow our brand in the DC area. Eat at National Place is a sophisticated and vibrant food hall that opened in 2005. We will serve our delicious and unique menu at the new location.

Over the past two months we’ve been testing out new menu items and today we are excited to share them with you!

Cauliflower Tako with Spiced Kale SlawFor the first time we have introduced a seasonal vegetable to our menu. Cauliflower is currently being offered as a protein and is meant to be enjoyed in a tako or on a bowl. The cauliflower is pan-roasted with a soy orange glaze and is vegan. We’ve also added the option for brown rice as an alternative to white. We’re so excited to be able to offer more vegetables and healthy options. Everyday we’re selling more balanced items and creating a new path for food culture.

We also added a new topping and two add-on options! TaKorean’s famous salsa roja is now available as a topping free of charge. Made with fire roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, fresh ginger, cilantro, lime juice, gochujang and sesame oil, our Korean style salsa roja will surely add an extra kick to your bite! The new add-ons include a tangy vegan avocado crema that is made from scratch with fresh avocados, as well as an organic soft egg to be enjoyed on a rice or slaw bowl. The organic egg is sous vide and has the texture of a perfectly cooked poached egg.

We are very excited to include these new items at both of our locations and we hope you enjoy them! We’d love to hear your feedback.


City Kids Wilderness Project

Building Resiliency, Broadening Horizon, Ensuring Skills for Success

10525929_10152551272501070_4332181616021467883_nTaKorean firmly believes that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities they serve. TaKorean set out to accomplish this by developing a 1% For the Community Program, in which we pledge 1% of all gross sales to local environmental, food and youth based non-profit organizations in the DMV. Through this initiative TaKorean has made 12 donations to 9 local charities and NGOs in the DC area that are having a tremendous impact raising awareness and alleviating local environmental issues, supporting community farms, providing access to food, and empowering youth through experiential learning, outdoor education, and leadership development. Read more »

2013 Giving Back

2013 has been our most successful year yet for TaKorean, and even as we look forward to amazing growth in 2014, we would like to take a moment and give back. Since our founding we’ve made a strong commitment to local charities by giving %1 of sales to local non-profits. This year we are focusing on three local charities that have a lasting impact on the welfare of the community – with a special focus on children, youths, environment, and food awareness. Read more »

Happy New Year!

TaKorean at Union Market

As we move into 2013 there is much to reflect on and be grateful for.  2012 was a big year for at Takorean.  We expanded to our first fixed-location establishment at the new artisanal Union Market.  With this growth Takorean has been able to hire more employees, and now we have a solid team who I am tremendously grateful for. Read more »

The Potomac Riverkeeper

DC Street Food, Inc. and TaKorean are proud to sponsor the Potomac Riverkeeper for the month of December.  I’ve had a chance to learn a lot about the Potomac Riverkeeper in my past career in outdoor retail.  We will donate 1% of gross sales for the month of December to Potomac Riverkeeper. Read more »

DC Central Kitchen

TaKorean and DC Street Food, Inc. are very proud to support DC Central Kitchen with 1% of total sales for the month of November 2010.

DC Central Kitchen turns leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk individuals while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to once homeless and hungry adults.

Read more »

DC Youth Power Network

I was thrilled last month when a good friend sent me an email suggesting DC Youth Power Network (YPN) for October’s 1% donation. The organization is based around youth power and targets the at-risk population, which is perfectly in line with what our program is trying to promote. Read more »

Trips for Kids Metro DC

TaKorean (DC Street Food, Inc.) is excited to start our Community Giving program by donating 1% of our total sales for the month of September to Trips for Kids Metro DC (TFK). When I decided to donate 1% of gross sales to local charities, I specifically wanted to contribute to environmental issues and at-risk youth. TFK combines these philosophies perfectly by introducing inner-city at-risk children to the wonders of the outdoors through mountain biking primarily. This experience gives opportunity to well-needed physical exercise, a better understanding of their surrounding environment, a greater appreciation of the nature parks in their own communities and a chance to push their own barriers and overcome obstacles. At the end of an event, they are tired and stand prouder for their accomplishments. Read more »

One for DC

Having worked in outdoor specialty retail for over seven years, I was always inspired by Patagonia’s pledge to donate 1% of all sales to environmental causes around the globe.  Patagonia started giving 1% for the planet in 1985, and since then businesses around the world have become involved.  It was an easy decision for me to incorporate that same philosophy into DC Street Food, Inc. and TaKorean locally.  Washington, DC is where I was born and raised, and along with delivering mouthwatering Korean BBQ tacos throughout the city, I’d like to do my part to better the community that has given so much to me throughout my life.

Each month we will blog about our chosen monthly charity in which we are donating at least 1% of our sales.  Over the course of the year we will be able to give back to several different types of charitable organizations, fulfilling our goal of truly giving back to the local community.  We at TaKorean believe that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities that give us the opportunity to serve them, and we are more than happy to do our part.  Delicious food and a positive impact on our neighborhoods, our youth, our forests, our waterways, and our people is responsible business.


Mike Lenard