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Alumni Spotlight

Thomas McCusker
BS 2005 Hotel and Restaurant Management

Thomas McCuskerThe buzz started back in the spring of 2009, when Philadelphia-based food blogs chronicled the opening of Honest Tom's Taco Shop. Suddenly, pictures of owner – and Drexel alumnus – Tom McCusker '05 passing tacos through the window of a khaki-colored truck popped up all over the Internet.

A lot has changed since then. For one, the truck is now emblazoned with bright colors, courtesy of the talented artists of Philly's Mural Arts program. And Tom McCusker, who studied at Drexel's Goodwin and LeBow colleges, is much more of a Philly household name these days.

Not surprisingly, since his tacos are blowing the lid off of the typical food truck stereotype. Dishing up gourmet meals through a truck window is becoming chic in Philadelphia, and McCusker is at the center of the trend. Food trucks are no longer considered "roach coaches," they're revered culinary destinations.

Local news affiliate 6ABC was the latest to dish out the praise, calling the Mexican delights "authentic south-of-the-border fare." (Video)

McCusker's formula for success is based on simplicity. Each day, he offers breakfast tacos, and for lunch, just two menu items: one meat and one vegetarian taco. Sometimes it's chicken, other days, you'll find fish; past vegetarian creations have included sweet potato and plantain tacos.

McCusker, who says he was inspired to start Honest Tom's after a trip to Texas, relies on fresh, high-quality ingredients to keep the crowds coming back for more. He and a small team of chefs whip up the meals every morning, and the truck's window is shuttered as soon as they sell out (which McCusker says is usually around 2 p.m.).

Up next for McCusker? He's getting a permanent address in University City, West Philadelphia (Drexel's neighborhood), where he'll expand his menu and cook for the masses – at tables. But don't fret; he'll still be whipping up those crave-worthy tacos from the truck.

Check out Honest Tom's Facebook and Twitter pages for details on when and where the truck is serving.

Written by Kristen Hampton, Goodwin Live Online Magazine
Photo courtesy of M. Kennedy, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation