Our first restaurant opened in Des Moines on Feb. 19, 1973, and was the first quick-service Mexican restaurant in Iowa. In fact, the product was so new some of our first customers asked for a “tay-co.” That first restaurant on 42nd Street near Roosevelt High School was a 12’ x 32’ modular structure that was hauled to Des Moines, set on a foundation and opened for business just a few days later.


From those pioneering beginnings, Taco John’s of Iowa has grown to operate the largest number of Taco John’s restaurants in America. At the same time, we have worked to establish consistently high standards of customer service, store appearance and employee training, while also providing excellent opportunities for staff advancement. In the process, we have taken a leadership role in the growth of the Taco John’s brand nationally.


We take our mission statement seriously—To SERVE our guests, our vendor partners, and each other as we would like to be served. That mission, and the best quick-service Mexican food around, has made our restaurants popular with millions of customers over the years.

Taco John’s of Iowa currently operates 24 restaurants in the following cities: Altoona, Ames, Ankeny, Boone, Creston, Des Moines, Grimes, Grinnell, Norwalk, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Pella, Urbandale, Waukee and West Des Moines.

About the Taco John’s Franchise

Since opening the first taco stand, Taco John’s has been serving fast Mexican food in an original way. From handmade salsas and fresh-made shells to classic Crispy Tacos and exciting new features, no one does Mexican like Taco John’s does. Today Taco John’s operates and franchises nearly 400 quick-service restaurants in 25 states, making it one of the largest Mexican quick service restaurant brands in America. Taco John’s continues to grow across the country, but some things will never change: our uncompromising standards of food quality, dedication to using real ingredients and signature bold flavors.

Our Mission:

To SERVE our guests, our vendor partners, and each other as we would like to be served.