Robert and Kelli Gomez, Tijuana Taco

Tijuana Taco has been filling bellies and putting smiles on faces since 1969, with some of the best tacos, burritos and tamales around. For Kelli and Robert Gomez, it’s been a family affair for much of that time. Kelli worked with her father at Tijuana Taco’s location in Lakewood until his retirement, when he sold the business to Kelli and her husband, Robert. Today, Kelli and Robert—with their kids helping out—are doing a thriving business operating one of the best-loved taco trucks in Pierce County.

When the pandemic shut down numerous office buildings, Tijuana Taco’s usual lunchtime crowd shrank, forcing them away from their normal routes and locations. Robert and Kelli adjusted. Since so many workers everywhere are staying home, they decided to take their deliciousness to them. Now it’s entire families that can’t wait for the Tijuana Taco truck to show up in their neighborhood.

For Tijuana Taco’s owners, it’s been gratifying to be able to bring so much joy—not to mention mouthwatering tacos—to so many. And thanks to the Pass It On Project, they’re not stopping there. Robert and Kelli are paying it forward with free meals to the wholesale grocery workers who supply them with food and equipment. Tijuana Taco and other restaurants rely on these sometimes overlooked workers every single day, and Columbia Bank is picking up the tab. It’s a very satisfying way to bring more smiles to more faces.