Danny Trejo Is Dispelling A Cinco De Mayo Myth

Danny TrejoPhoto Credit: Frito-Lay

As a man of Mexican heritage, Danny Trejo has a deeper relationship with Cinco de Mayo than most — and he is fully intending to celebrate. The star of films such as Heat, Con Air, Desperado and Machete — who also founded the popular eateries like Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina, and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts, all in L.A. — dishes on his new campaign for Tostitos, sets the record straight on the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, and shares his tried and true food pairings for this upcoming day of celebration.

Danny TrejoPhoto Credit: Frito-Lay

Tell me about your partnership with Tostitos and the Tostitos’ 5 Ways to Cinco campaign?

When Tostitos came at me with this commercial, I looked at the storyboard and I loved it. It looked like a movie. And I absolutely would do it. I have been eating Tostitos for a long time, not just for a commercial. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t like them.

How will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year?

Well you know, I always gotta say Cinco de Mayo spelled backwards is let’s have a party. And that’s what we’re going to have; a few people over, a nice get together. We’ll have my tacos, my guacamole, and a lot of Tostitos.

What are some Cinco de Mayo traditions in your family that you uphold today?

I think just getting together and the party. Everybody thinks [Cinco de Mayo] is Mexican Independence Day. It’s not. It’s [about] the Battle of Puebla where the Mexicans defeated the French. So, we actually celebrate Cinco de Mayo more in the United States than they do in Mexico. There it was just a battle. You know we don’t celebrate the Battle of Iwo Jima. We just know it [happened]. Up here, Cinco de Mayo to the Mexican-Americans means quite a bit and it means get together.

Danny TrejoPhoto Credit: Frito-Lay
What is your ideal Cinco de Mayo meal?

A: Well I love carnitas nachos made with Tostitos. And for breakfast a lot of time I have nachos and two eggs over easy on a whole bunch of Tostitos, cheese, and carne asada or carnitas.

You have your own restaurants, and food seems like it’s important to you. What is your most powerful food memory?

The way I got into the restaurant business was amazing. A producer on a film, a guy named Ashaw, he saw that I eat good food. I won’t eat bad food. And he said “Danny, why don’t you open a restaurant.” Jokingly, I said “Trejo’s Tacos” and he brought me a business plan. I showed that business plan to my agent Gloria and she said it was a no brainer. If I hadn’t listened to people, like my agent, I wouldn’t be in the restaurant business. I think that was powerful and unbelievable because I have seven restaurants now and they are all doing pretty good. One of the reasons we were able to stay open in the pandemic was because we never stopped feeding the homeless and I think the good lord smiled on us because restaurants right around us closed. I used to show up sometimes deliveries and people would kind of freak out. But I think that is why we stayed open. [We] never stopped feeding the hospitals and homeless shelters.

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

My kids are the greatest thing I got in life. They’re awesome. They’re a luxury. [He laughs]. No, I’m sorry, they are awesome. I also got old cars that I love working on and I love driving them around. Anytime someone asks me my greatest luxury… I don’t know… I got my kids and Danielle and Gilbert, Danny Boy, I got Theo and Sam. They’re all cool.