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Published June 25 2012

Food fight breaks up Fargo Taco Bros.

FARGO – Call it a recipe for failure, at least for now.

A split over the best way to prepare a spicy Mexican sausage has turned the self-proclaimed “Taco Brothers” against one another, closing down the taco truck named for their bond.

Just days after Taco Bros. Food Truck opened for business, the burgeoning mobile food business – which racked up more than 880 likes on its Facebook page in less than two weeks of operation – dissolved Monday over what one of the brothers called “irreconcilable differences.”

The truck, owned and operated by Octavio and Raul Gomez, was parked at the corner of Eighth Street North and Second Avenue North on the property of the High Plains Reader, a weekly newspaper of which Raul is publisher.

Fans of Taco Bros. learned of its demise Monday via its Facebook page, where a link directed people to a blog post on mexi-can.org, written by Cindy Gomez-Schempp, sister of Raul and Octavio.

The post alleged that Raul, after “interfering” with day-to-day operations of the business, illegally evicted Octavio from the High Plains Reader property late last week.

The post also claimed that after Raul pressured Octavio into giving him 49 percent ownership of the business, he would only accept “an inflated and costly buyout” of his share.

Raul, in an interview, called the allegations a “horrible, malicious story.”

He said friction between him and his brother came to a head Wednesday when they argued about the best way to prepare a chorizo, a Mexican sausage.

At that point, Octavio kicked Raul out of the truck, Raul said, and the two later reached an understanding that Octavio would move the business off of the property.

“As far as I’m concerned, my brother said he was leaving the next day,” Raul said.

Raul also disputed the buyout claim in the post and said he was willing to give up his share of the business for the money he put in, plus the hours he worked at $10 an hour.

“I haven’t gotten a single dollar out of this, and it’s cost me thousands,” Raul said. “That it’s come to this is just heartbreaking.”

Octavio declined to comment Monday on what he said were “irreconcilable differences,” saying only that he hopes to return to making tacos as soon as possible.

“I think there’s a great passion and love for the food that I’m making, and I want to keep making it until the winter chills my bones,” he said.

Gomez-Schempp, meanwhile, expressed hope that Octavio can get back on his feet soon.

“We’re hoping that someone who has seen the potential of this great eating establishment will let us lease a location quickly so that he can get back to making his food,” she said.

Because of city ordinances and the size of the trailer, any future location must be on private property, said Bob Stein, a senior planner for Fargo.

“That’s the kind of option they would have to look for, for a trailer like that,” Stein said.

Public reaction on the Taco Bros. Facebook page mostly expressed hope for a quick resolution.

“I’m sorry about all the family feuding but I hope Octavio is able to find a location soon,” Christa Whaley wrote. “His food is amazing and I want more people to know about it!”

Gomez-Schempp also hoped for a quick end that can let Raul and Octavio get back to being brothers.

“It’s sad that this happened,” Gomez-Schempp said. “Siblings fight all the time, but the fact that it’s closing the business, which was so thriving, is a tragedy.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535