Two Amigos Taqueria serving free meals to less fortunate, customers pay it forward with donations
PLEASANTON, Caif. (KTVU) - At first sight, Two Amigos restaurant may seem like a typical taqueria.
However, what sets it aside, isn't what's on the menu. But who they're helping.
"If somebody shows up and they didn't have the money, just let them have food drinks and whatever they need at no cost of course," says Two Amigos co-owner Alfredo Vacquez.
The taqueria opened up nearly four years ago. In the beginning, they would just give food away to those in need.
Now, they're still giving away food, but it's the customers who are footing most of the bills.
"Lately we see a lot of homeless community in this area and we got people stopping by and asking for meals and stuff like that," says Two Amigos co-owner Jose Mena. "I just thought go ahead and buy another plate," says customer Kimberly Hemenes.
Two years ago Mena added a blank board next to the cash register. It's where customers who purchase an extra meal can place a receipt for those less fortunate.
Then those in need can use that voucher for a free meal.
The owners say the amount of people taking part has been pretty steady.
But lately, after a social media post, the number of customers buying the meals has increased.
"People are taking pictures of the wall and they're posting it and tell all the people and they just come and participate," says Vacquez. "Sometimes I complain and think oh my life sucks. But then I know there are a lot of people that have it a lot worse off than I do and a lot less fortunate. So why not do something for them when you can," says Hemenes.
The management says the board stays pretty full of purchased meals, and even if it's empty, they're not going to turn anyone away. Because they like to pay it forward.
"We tell all our cashiers if somebody comes here and don't have any money just give them food," says Vacquez.
The owners say they give away roughly 50 meals a week.
Often times those in need offer to clean up around the restaurant to pay for the food. That gesture is denied.
Instead, those receiving the gift are encouraged just to write a thank you note, which will hang on another wall.