As many of you know, Rusty Fenton, founder of Rusty Taco, passed away early Monday morning of cancer. When I learned about his condition, I was floored. How could one of the nicest guys I know have cancer? I thought. When I read Carol Shih’s SideDish post about Rusty’s death, I was having a post-work beer. I cried in that beer.
I knew it was coming, but awareness doesn’t soften the news of such an event.
Rusty had been diagnosed with the disease while developing his successful taqueria brand, Rusty Taco, and its first store on Greenville Avenue. Since then, he dedicated his life to his family and Rusty Taco, making sure that his wife, Denise, and his four daughters, would be taken care of when he was gone. All the while, he smiled.
I work across the street from the Greenville Avenue Rusty Taco. It’s my regular breakfast taco spot, and when Rusty was alive I’d sometimes rush down there for lunch in hope of catching Rusty to see how he was doing and to see his smile.
The last time I saw him was during one of those lunchtime pop-ins. We shook hands, talked about a food he fell in love with during a recent trip to Mexico City. He was considering adding it to his menu.
Before that, we saw one another at the North Texas Taco Festival. He and his wife walked up to me in the middle of the madness, they said hi and Rusty, sensing I was frazzled, gave me a hug. It helped.
I can’t say Rusty and I were friends, but he sure made me feel like one whenever we spoke.
Rest in peace, Rusty, and thanks for the tacos. You will be missed.