Refurbished horse trailer, now food truck, bringing Mexican food to Turners

  • Santo Taco works out of a converted horse trailer during WRSI’s 40th anniversary concert at Unity Park in Turners Falls. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Ivette Mateos, center, and Eric Dew have opened Santo Taco out of a converted horse trailer. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 8/3/2021 3:27:54 PM

TURNERS FALLS — As the world celebrates the return of community events, Santo Taco looks to contribute with a new Mexican food truck.

Since originally meeting in Montréal, Canada, Santo Taco co-owners Ivette Mateos and Eric Dew have been looking to provide authentic Mexican food to their community. Their move from the big city to small-town Turners Falls around five years ago marked a significant shift in this community dynamic.

While this food truck is making its debut at the side of Unity Park in front of Nova Motorcycles, Santo Taco isn’t new to Turners Falls. Mateos and Dew opened the eatery in 2018 as a semi-permanent fixture that operated primarily out of a tent. The business closed for the season in November 2019. By the time warmer weather returned, the COVID-19 pandemic had begun, and Mateos and Dew deemed reopening unfeasible.

Dew didn’t take the hiatus that followed to be a vacation. Rather, the man who had once constructed his own mobile home decided to take on the project of creating his own food truck. He found someone who was getting rid of an old horse trailer and got to work, gutting the interior and starting its conversion into a culinary space.

“It was good to have this project to work on,” Dew said.

Both he and Mateos feel this effort will be well-suited for a Turners Falls community looking to spring back to life this summer. The two said they feel revitalized by having an opportunity to work here, having had enough of city life.

“I think we were both getting a little tired of living in the city,” Dew said. “The competition is just fierce. There’s no community. The rent is too high.”

In Turners Falls, they said, small businesses are more invested in the spirit of collaboration than competition. The pair prioritizes opportunities that allow for these businesses to share space and cultivate a wholesome environment.

Mateos takes added pride in her unique communal role. She said she’s grown accustomed to being one of the only Mexican people around. Having spent the first 23 years of her life in Mexico City, she believes her identity and experience bring an indispensable authenticity to Turners Falls.

“I saw that there’s not authentic recipes (around the area),” Mateos explained. “I just said that I would bring some street food.”

Santo Taco attended WRSI’s 40th anniversary music festival to kick off what they hope to be a series of service at large community happenings. The next event that Mateos and Dew plan to attend is the Pocumtuck Homelands Festival on Saturday and Sunday, where they will work from noon to 5 p.m. Later this month, the food truck will be off-site as the partners serve attendees of the Green River Festival at the Franklin County Fairgrounds from Aug. 27 to Aug. 29.

Regularly, the food truck is now open from 3 to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with Mexican brunch served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will remain open until Nov. 1.

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or


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