Customers wait in line at Benjo's Tacos pop-up shop on Saturday, January 14th. (Photo by Benjo's Tacos)

Benjo’s Tacos has huge news for Mexican food lovers in Victoria. 

The beloved taco shop is moving its Esquimalt restaurant to Cook Street where they will serve delicious platters alongside Empire Donuts.

The husband and wife duo, Johl and Samantha Green told Victoria Buzz that their decision to move came after realizing the restaurant had outgrown their current space and required a central location to properly serve a rapidly growing fanbase.

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“It is interesting, we have electric grills that we cook our tacos on because we’re not allowed gas in there. We have a literal kitchen stove from an apartment building that we broil our meat on. We hand wash every single dish because there’s no dishwasher, it’s crazy, it’s a lot of work,” said Green.

In the leadup to their announcement, the first time restaurant owners were forced to shut down from December 19th to the 29th after a building fire above their Esquimalt business caused severe water damage to their restaurant below.

After going a few weeks without business and prolonged issues with repairs, Melanie Laverick, owner of Empire Donuts, and a long-time Benjo’s supporter offered her spare kitchen space to the couple while they waited for their shop to reopen. 

“Melanie would come into Benjo’s quite often with her kids. She had a kitchen space open and offered it to us. We thought it would be a good way to recoup some funds and also do a little collab with donuts and tacos which everybody loves,” said Samantha.

On Saturday, January 14th, the Greens launched their first pop-up shop alongside Empire Donuts and within minutes of their 11 a.m. opening, the husband and wife duo were swamped!

Related: Here’s why hundreds of Victorians lined up for hours for tacos this Saturday

Over the course of three hours, the dynamic duo served 130 people before closing up shop at 2 p.m.—two hours before their scheduled time of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Samantha says they had no idea they would receive such an outpour of support, considering the Greens usually serve 70 orders on a regular business day.

With such a strong showing of support, the Green’s are listening to their customers and making some significant changes, including new hours – Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – for those who cannot make it during the work week.

With an expected launch at Empire Donuts set for mid-February, the move represents the first steps towards greater expansion for the locally owned and operated business. 

“Being in a proper kitchen will make our lives a lot easier and then we’re going to hire some staff to help us out because when we’re in that location we’re not going to be able to manage with just two of us anymore.”

Benjo’s Tacos

  • Where: 230 Cook Street
  • When: Slated to open mid-February

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