MANCHESTER, NH – When Ken Spillman first began selling tacos and burritos out of a humble white trailer as a side gig, he never thought the business would thrive as it did. Now, eight years later, the humble operation is branching out to a brick-and-mortar location on Manchester’s West Side.
The original B’s tacos, a stationary trailer located by the BP gas station on Mohawk Drive in Londonderry, is a town staple known for fresh southwestern food and speedy service. The recipes are inspired by Spillman’s San Diego upbringing and his father’s roots in El Paso.
“I worked in the lumber business for 35 years, and I wanted to start my own business. I wanted to find something I could procure and add value to, and it always came back to tacos,” said Spillman. “It was going to be a part-time thing on the weekends. My job got eliminated and I jumped in head-first.”
The trailer soon saw immense success, with lines often stretching across the BP property. Three years ago, Spillman purchased a truck, enabling his business to take to the road to be used for private parties and community events. However, Spillman continued to feel motivated to expand the business further.
“It always seemed like the logical move would be to have a brick-and-mortar to support my mobile business…and of course my customers have been asking for years,” he said.
Then he stumbled upon an available spot on Kelley Street, away from the bustle of downtown, and two months of refurbishing followed. The team opened the new B’s Tacos in late January for takeout only.
Many of the items that made the original B’s Tacos a hit can be found at the new location. Burritos, tacos, both crispy and soft, and rice bowls made with a myriad of fillings are as abundant as ever. Proteins include slow-cooked pork, chipotle-garlic steak, chorizo, grilled chicken and seasoned ground beef. Extra-hungry patrons can combine two or more.
Nearly everyone asks for a scoop of house-made pico de gallo in their burrito or taco. The mix of tomato, onion, jalapeno, lime and cilantro adds welcome freshness to any order. Other fillings include beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, fried potatoes and multiple varieties of hot sauce.
The new location expands upon the original menu by introducing salads, quesadillas and kids’ meals. B’s award-winning beef chili, which was a crowd favorite only available intermittently on the trailer, can also be found on the new menu.
The menu also caters to those following a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet. At the trailer, vegetarian burritos and tacos made with fresh produce are tremendously popular among the meat-free crowd.
“The thing that makes our food different from most people is that everything is fresh. If you go to a barrio in El Paso or San Diego, this is what [you’ll find].”
Aside from tacos, Spillman also has a passion for collecting and dealing in pop culture items, and that influence is on full display at the new location. He’s adorned the space with nostalgic movie posters and Americana.
“This is stuff I’ve collected over the decades with the intention of putting it somewhere, I just didn’t know where.”
For now, customers will only get a quick glance of the interior, since B’s is only open for takeout. Unlike the trailer, customers can call ahead to pick up, and online ordering will soon be an additional option.
Spillman and his team are taking all COVID precautions; sanitizing the space daily and wearing masks and gloves while preparing food. Although the pandemic is stifling the full potential of the new business, Spillman is confident that B’s will become a fixture of the West Side.
“We want to be part of the community. One of the things that I loved about this location is that it’s a neighborhood and not a downtown location. Many people said ‘this is not the right time [to open].’ I saw it as an opportunity.”
This new location has been a long time coming for B’s Tacos. He says the team is committed to preserving the freshness and quality of their food amid their expansion. Despite the progress B’s Tacos has seen in recent years, Spillman has no interest in plateauing any time soon.
“We want to grow the business. This was a big step for us, but it’s not the last one.”
Visit the new B’s Tacos at 372 Kelley Street in Manchester or at their trailer location at 3 Mohawk Drive in Londonderry (currently closed for the season).