Actor-restaurateur Danny Trejo gave a succinct message to attendees at the closing keynote speech at CREATE the Experience: Persevere.
Trejo, now 79, initiated his acting career in 1984 after serving time in prison for heroin use and drug dealing. He also has become a noted counselor for sobriety and spirituality.
“Trejo's name and face and achievements are well recognized in Hollywood and beyond,” said Sam Oches, editorial at Informa’s restaurant and good group, which organizes conference, in introducing the actor. “Trejo has starred in dozens of films and television shows including ‘Desperado,’ ‘Heat,’ ‘From Dusk Til Dawn,’ ‘Conair,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Machete’ and so many more most recently Danny stepped into our world as a restaurateur with eight restaurants, encompassing Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina, and Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts.”
Trejo also wrote a book “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood” with Donal Logue.
Trejo remains a firm believer in second chances and reinvention. He was released from prison on Aug. 23, 1969.
“Some people stay down longer than other people,” he said.
While making the 2012 movie “Bad Ass,” which was a low-budget film with limited craft services, and Trejo says his tuna salad from home drew attention of movie producers, who urged him to open a restaurant.
That has grown and Trejo recently announced plans for a restaurant in London.
The units feature Trejo’s stern likeness, which the actor has said has become one that’s welcoming, but it started as something more menacing.
“Now it's friendliness,” Trejo said. “Now it's like, ‘Please enjoy my food.’”
The approach also extends to the service style at the restaurants, he added.
“We want to treat people almost like family,” Trejo said. “Sometimes if there’s not a table, we'll bring them out.”
Trejo said he’s not sure what his next act will be.
“I'm 79 right now,” Trejo said. “I don't want to give up quite yet.
“The good lord prepared me for what I was supposed to do and that's you know working with their kids in juvenile hall and the guys in prison, everything else is just frosting on the cake,” he said.
To the gathered entrepreneurs, suppliers and concept founders, Trejo quickly added: “The only failure in life is quitting.”
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on X/Twitter: @RonRuggless