Utah sports fans can’t get enough ‘Irish Tacos’

Paul Crowley, left, and his grandson Adam Crowley make Irish tacos at the BYU Marriott Center during a BYU basketball game. Enlarge photo

Jim McAuley/Daily Herald

Paul Crowley, left, and his grandson Adam Crowley make Irish tacos at the BYU Marriott Center during a BYU basketball game.

PROVO, Utah (AP) – What is an Irish Taco? And Pot O’Gold Fruit Salad? These often are questions that Paul Crowley and his grandchildren hear when they run their taco concession business during Brigham Young University football and basketball games, among other events.

And for Crowley, the answer is an easy one – an Irish Taco is a taco with a recipe that Crowley has been making for more than 40 years. It’s a soft fried corn tortilla stuffed with a combination of meat, onions, spices, sauces and jalapenos that is simmered for hours.

The tacos then can be topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, sour cream, taco sauce and lime juice.

Pot O’Gold Fruit Salad is strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, blackberries, peaches, pears, apples, pomegranates, apricots, oranges and bananas, in season, that are tossed together. The fruit then is smothered with fresh whipped cream that is sweetened with pure fructose and flavored with aromatic Mexican vanilla.

“The taco bashes have been something that has been a fun tradition for us,” said Jason Kocherhans, Crowley’s grandson and business partner. “Grandpa’s tacos are delicious, and my cousin Adam Crowley and I decided that the tacos would be a great idea for a business.”

“Everyone who has tried Grandpa’s tacos has loved them,” Adam Crowley said. “We knew this would be a good product that would be fun to sell and that people would love.”

So two summers ago, Kocherhans and Adam Crowley told their grandfather they were going to take his tacos public. They started attending the BYU Farmer’s Market and became quite a hit.

“We would have people who would show up and start lining up before we even got there,” Paul Crowley said. “The tacos became pretty popular, so we were invited by BYU concessions to sell at the BYU basketball games in the Marriott Center.”

From there, O’Crowley Irish Tacos were sold at basketball games, Womens Conference, Education Week, the Stadium of Fire and BYU football games.

Kocherhans and Paul and Adam Crowley recruit other family members, who are mostly Paul Crowley’s grandchildren, and who are at least 16 years old – old enough to have a food handler’s permit.

“We usually use at least four people for the football and basketball games,” Paul Crowley said.

O’Crowley Irish Tacos serves at the Tahitian Noni offices in Provo.

“We get quite a lot of regulars at the Tahitian Noni Café,” Adam Crowley said. “People tell us that they can’t get enough and they wait anxiously for Tuesday to come around. We even get people who come to the football or basketball games and then go to Tahitian Noni on Tuesdays.”

And customers can’t seem to get enough of these unique tacos. On the business’s Facebook page, customers have commented on just how much they love the tacos.

“Best kept secret food in the Marriott Center,” a Facebook post by Steve Johnson said. “If you haven’t tried the Irish Tacos you don’t know what you are missing.”

For now, the business is something Paul Crowley enjoys doing with his grandchildren as a hobby. He has been a real estate broker since 1975, but being an entrepreneur is something he loves.

And his grandchildren have caught the entrepreneur bug, too.

“I would love to go full-time with the business,” Kocherhans said. “We have kept it small and run the business smart so that we have no debt. I have really enjoyed this. I love learning and I love being with my grandpa. He is such a hard-working guy. This is a legacy for him that he can pass onto his grandkids. It is the American dream.”

“When I am done with school at BYU, we all hope to be able to make this into a brick-and-mortar business,” Adam Crowley said. “We have been able to test the market through BYU concessions and the reaction has been great.”