Tabe, (pronounced Tah-bay), meaning “to eat” in Japanese, was established in October 2009 by Sunny and Osok Kwon who was intrigued by Todd Ichinaga’s idea of starting San Diego’s first gourmet food truck. Todd had experience of food trucks in L.A. and with the financial and manual help from the Kwon’s was able to fulfill his ambition and put his menu out on the streets of S.D.
Many years before this, summer of 1988 to be precise, Matthew Gorton a San Diego native, crashed a tequila BBQ party on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii where Richard Morris was cooking up some ‘mean grinds’ using Asian flavors he learned from his travels around Asia as an officer in the merchant marine. With the love of good food, drink, and women in common, not necessarily in that order, a friendship was cemented.
Over the years business ideas where tossed around and discarded, until 2003 when Matt, who was serving at Piatti’s and George’s on the Cove of La Jolla, came up with the idea of setting up hot dog carts like other cities enjoy. Richard at the time lived in Amsterdam, and had started a small catering company testing the waters before saying goodbye to the high seas.
Matt called Rich up with the idea and after bouncing it around with his fiancé decided to come over and start a hot dog cart business with a catering side to it. In October 2003 Mateo’s Hot Spot was started, and Pacific Beach revelers were introduced to insanely good tasting hot dogs late at night outside the bars.
Being out in the streets, listening to what people were talking about and wanted, we knew it was about time we stepped up from our 4 locations and add a truck to be more mobile and have our own kitchen, instead of sharing one.
That is when, after months of searching for the right fit, we came across Tabe BBQ. With so many coincidences, such as the fusion of Mexican (Matthew is part Mexican), Asian (Richard loved his time eating/drinking around Asia) and the tropical salsas that reminds both of the 5 years spent in Hawaii plus the fact that we were looking for both a kitchen and a truck, Tabe could not have been a better fit.
The Kwon’s realizing it was far harder work than they anticipated were looking for a buyer and sold it to Richard and Matthew in February 2010. Todd stayed on for a while but found his interest waning and took off for other culinary challanges.
After months of looking for a the correct fit for the chefs position we found Chef Mark who has had a lifetime of experience in the kitchen and the foresight to see the possibilities Tabe held. Chef Mark has since made the menu even better with his inspirational twists on foods creating one of the best pulled pork you will find anywhere.