Opening the first Jimboy’s Tacos franchise in Irving has been a high point of what started out as a difficult beginning in the career of international businessman Mathias Basabose. 

“I escaped a horrific civil war in my country of Burundi, built a successful international business, and feel fortunate to be opening a Jimboy’s Tacos restaurant in Texas,” says Basabose.  “It’s everything I hoped it would be.”

The fast-casual, American-style Mexican food restaurant chain opens for business in Irving with a grand opening on Saturday, February 21, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The restaurant, located at 3301 N. Beltline Rd, is giving away two free ground beef or bean tacos to the public during the grand opening.

A Netherlands citizen born in Burundi, Africa, Basabose had big dreams after earning a marketing degree in 1978. He worked in different food and public service industries until he was able to open his first factory in 1988. In 1993, the Burundi Civil War began following the first multi-party elections in the country since Independence from Belgium in 1962.

“Military extremists assassinated the elected president of our country, Melchior Ndadaye. He was my friend, and soon after his murder, they came and destoyed my factory and killed some of my workers,” Basabose says.

In 1994, through the aid of the Belgian Ambassador, Basabose and his family slipped away to the Netherlands with nothing but the clothes on their back. “I had nothing again, but I began collecting used clothes and shoes and shipping them back to Africa because of the thriving market for such commodities,” Basabose says.

“Mathias’ story is inspirational, and we are honored that he is part of our Jimboy’s Tacos family,” says president and CEO of Jimboy’s Tacos, Karen Knudson-Freeman.

Jimboy’s Tacos is a family-run restaurant chain started 60 years ago by founder Jim Knudson. The Irving location is the second Jimboy’s Tacos restaurant in Texas, with the first one opening in Plano on November 8, 2014.

Jimboy’s Tacos grills its stone ground corn tortilla shells to make them crispy, and dusts every grilled taco with its signature Parmesan cheese. The menu also includes street tacos, burritos, nachos, queso, and churros.

“Everything is made from scratch and in small batches to ensure freshness. We don’t buy pre-shredded cheese; we shred our cheese daily, and we chop our vegetables and make our guacamole fresh every morning. It’s how my dad did it 60 years ago, and we still prepare our food that way today in all our restaurants,” Knudson-Freeman says.

Grand opening festivities begin on Friday, February 20 at 12 p.m. with a ribbon cutting by the Irving Chamber of Commerce. They conclude on Saturday, February 21 with the public grand opening and two free taco giveaways from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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