San Diego Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr.'s Homers = Free Tacos

Local restaurant chain looks to top its #SpanosTaco success.

Man in a yellow hoodie and ballcap stands in front of a picture of Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Joe Little, NBC 7

San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. has brought a new level of excitement to San Diego.

He may also bring free food.

El Pollo Grill’s three locations will now give away one free Tatis Taco to every customer the day after Tatis hits a home run. Victor Lopez owns and operates all three restaurants in San Diego County.

“It’s all good,” Victor Lopez said. “I’ll trade money for a Padres championship or a Tatis MVP.”

A Facebook friend gave Lopez the idea to drum up business with the giveaway. It worked before.

Lopez made national headlines a few years ago when he started offering free Spanos Tacos after every Los Angeles Chargers loss. Lopez named the tacos after Chargers owner Dean Spanos, who moved the team out of San Diego.

“The Chargers losing is as good as the Padres winning,” said a smiling Lopez while he stood in his Otay Ranch restaurant.

Giving away free food is a tough call, considering what Lopez’s restaurants and the industry endured during the pandemic.

“People are still reluctant to come and eat,” Lopez said. “We suffered to a certain extent, not as much as other restaurants.”

Lopez said he hoped the Tatis Tacos would celebrate something good in the community and build up more business.

“You got to spend to make money, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Lopez said.

Lopez said his El Pollo Grills were able to withstand the last 13 months by quickly adjusting to every rule change and offering more takeout and delivery services. Now, he’s hoping loosening rules and the Padres superstar will bring even better days ahead.

“Everybody’s having fun, you know?" Lopez said. "We can’t wait for the next game.”

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