What’s life like in the Taco John’s Test Kitchen? Bold, busy and never boring. Here in Cheyenne, WY, we’re always whipping up what’s new in Mexican. My name is Bob Karisny, and I’m Taco John’s Corporate Chef. I spend my day researching the latest flavor trends, traveling to find new menu ideas and, of course, eating. 
On this website, I’ll be sharing notes from our Taco John’s Test Kitchen, along with my passion for Mexican cuisine. You’ll also hear from Sissy and Carl, my partners in creating – and eating – great food. 
Whether in the U.S. or Mexico, we’re always searching for new flavor ideas and opportunities to learn from the best in Mexican cuisine. Along with these experiences, we’ll also share menu ideas in development and great recipes you can make at home. So tie your apron and get ready to digest some secrets from the Test Kitchen. We hope you came hungry!

Jan 4, 2013
January 04, 2013 by BOB KARISNY













Working in Taco John’s® test kitchen isn’t just about creating new menu items. It’s our practice to look at current menu ingredients regularly to be sure they are being produced to the high standards we require. In our test kitchen, we prepare these ingredients just as a Taco John’s® restaurant would. And during our testing, one menu item is king – Potato Olés®.


We test Potato Olés® more often than any other menu item because they are the measuring stick our guests use to  judge overall food quality for Taco John’s®. If you think about it, they are the barometer for quality because they are the first thing you take a bite of. When I go through the drive-thru, I instinctively grab a couple of Potato Olés® and pop them in my mouth. If they’re great, all my food somehow tastes better. It’s not just my opinion, either; our guests have echoed the same thing.


In the test kitchen, we are always looking at the latest and greatest equipment to cook, hold, season and serve Potato Olés®. We look at our preparation procedures to be sure they are the best, including making trips to our manufacturers in Minnesota and Washington. These people are our first link in “great Potato Olés® each and every day.” During my most recent trip, I tried to spend a lot of time with the folks who are actually right there on the line watching thousands of Potato Olés® pass by. They’re the ones who really know when the Potato Olés® are great and have the power to stop the line and figure out what’s needed to improve. They are our partners, and I really appreciate the consideration they give Taco John’s®.


While all of our food is very important and needs to be made right every day, Potato Olés® are king. Just for fun, here are a few facts about Potato Olés®:


  • Potato Olés® were introduced at Taco John’s® in 1979.
  • We serve millions of pounds of Potato Olés® each year; every day, we serve more than 4000 individual Potato Olés® in each restaurant.
  • If you were to stack all of the Potato Olés® eaten in one day on top of each other, you should consider therapy and expanding your social network – just kidding! That stack would be over 28 miles high.
  • The very first Potato Olés® were created with a little refried beans inside of them.


Filed under: R & D