San Jose native starts popular food truck, following in parents' footsteps

One the fastest growing food truck businesses in the Bay Area is in the South Bay. It was started by San Jose native Daniel Ortega, who says everything he’s accomplished he learned from his immigrant parents. 

Con Sabor a Mexico, which means the Flavor of Mexico, is the lifelong dream of owner Daniel Ortega. 

"Not knowing anything about the business, like my father always told me, you know, take a risk. You have to dive in head first and if things go well, great. If it doesn’t, then great. You don’t have to do it again," Ortega said. 

Born and raised in San Jose, 34-year-old Ortega says he built his food truck business using his grandmother’s recipes and the hustle he learned from his Mexican parents, Jose Luis and Alicia Ortega. He says being an entrepreneur has always been is in his blood. 

"My parents were the first ones to present agua frescas to San Jose and throughout the Bay Area. So I grew up watching my parents work, and I used to work for them," Ortega said.  

Ortega says his father wanted him to go to college but in 2016, he started his first business selling agua frescas and fruit cups like his parents. Just two years later, he used his savings to buy his first food truck. The giant con sabor birria taco is his signature item, and he now has three food truck locations throughout the city. 

"When I first started, people were looking at me like I was crazy. Saying you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to lose out on money, and I just always believed in myself. I trusted the process, I had the vision and I stuck to the vision. Everything went through," Ortega said.  

Ortega says this month, he’s catering 3,000 people for United Airlines in San Francisco and his social media videos have over 3 million views. He’s also planning to launch a video game and film, both based on his food truck concept. He says foodies from all over the state are coming to San Jose to experience the flavor of Mexico. 

"People from all over California, from Fresno, Modesto, from Los Angeles; all over the Bay Area, are coming to try it out," said Ortega.  

We talked to a customer who was there for the first time and one who keeps coming back. 

SEE ALSO: Lowrider culture is an important piece of Mexican American tradition

"I am expecting lots of flavor, lots of meat, and I’m expecting to be very full afterward," said Earnest Little, of San Jose.  

"I’m familiar with Mexican cuisine, tacos, birria. I like the birria here because it’s not that greasy. It’s just right," said Brian, who came with his family to Con Sabor a Mexico.   

Ortega says with his wife Katherine by his side and his 2nd child on the way, he’s looking forward to the future and owning his own restaurant, but he’ll always have his family’s entrepreneurial spirit to guide him. 

"That Mexican culture, my father originally from Mexico and that tradition; that culture that we carry, I also want to bring it down to my kids. So, the day whenever I’m gone, my children will continue that legacy."