ALBURY restaurant icon Taco Bill will chalk up 30 years in business under the same roof with the same owners on Monday.
Taco Bill Mexican Restaurant owners Gisella Henry and Rodney Edwards opened the Dean Street eatery on March 20, 1987.
The Albury franchise will celebrate on Thursday to coincide with 50th anniversary celebrations of the Australian franchise.
Ms Henry said the longevity of the business came down to a tight-knit family and sensational staff.
“We all love what we do,” she said.
“Thirty years is a lifetime in hospitality; we’ve been around longer than some of our staff have been alive.”
Ms Henry said they had adapted to changing dining trends over three decades.
“When we started, no one had heard of Mexican food,” she said.
“It was too hot or too ethnic; now we’re really in vogue. You can’t mess with Mexican food too much but we probably do a lot more salads now and we’ve got gluten-free desserts too.”
Ms Henry said they had made many friends during three decades in the business.
“Some customers have come to us for the same meal every week for 30 years,” she said.
“I can’t remember a Saturday night when we haven’t had a hen’s party in 30 years.”
Having started at the restaurant washing dishes at 14 and returning full-time in 1999, co-owner and son Dan Frei said the restaurant was a constant for people in an ever-changing world.
“People say to us: ‘Don’t change anything because we’ve been here for our 18th, 21st, hen’s parties and even divorce parties’,” he said.
Ms Henry, Mr Edwards, Mr Frei and his partner Pia went to Sydney in September when they won Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence Southern winner in the best specialty restaurant category. They have won best Mexican restaurant in the awards 17 times.
“To be recognised is wonderful, but it’s not why we do it,” Ms Henry said.
Ms Henry said they had worked with scores of staff, who were like family.
“Rodney Pittard was instrumental at Taco Bill for 20 years and our first apprentice cook, Merelda Crocker, stayed for 20 years,” she said.
Taco Bill will celebrate the milestone on Thursday night with regular diners and staff.