Rev Collaboration Brings New Brick-and-Mortar to Ithaca’s Collegetown

Four soft shell tacos from Dos Amigos sitting on a picnic table with condiments

Rev Collaboration Brings New Brick-and-Mortar to Ithaca’s Collegetown

Ithaca’s favorite taco truck, Dos Amigos, is scaling-up business with a new brick-and-mortar in Collegetown (403 College Avenue, Ithaca, NY). Launched in 2015 by Cornell Hotel School alum Jorge Bouras, the company has attracted a loyal following while slinging quality Cali-Mex style fare from its bright blue truck parked on the campus of Ithaca College, the streets of Collegetown, or outside Liquid State Brewing Company. 

A collaboration with fellow Rev member, Areti Construction, means that Dos Amigos will no longer be a moving target for the late-night cravings of its followers. With the addition of a physical location in Collegetown, Dos Amigos plans to bring its food and mission to a wider audience.

Areti, a family-owned construction company that services Upstate and Central New York,  is operated by Bill Waring, Josh Lambert, Becky Waring, and Marie Maynard, along with a small, but talented team of employees. A Rev member company since January 2019, the Areti team can often be found mulling over blueprints in Rev’s workspace. Bouras chose Areti to take on the renovation project, because he was impressed with the company’s transparent pricing and vertically integrated business model, but also because of the immediate connection he felt with founder, Bill Waring.

“Prior to collaborating on this project, Bill and I bumped into each other while working late at Rev one evening, and we had a conversation about the motivations behind our businesses,” stated Bouras, “I discovered that our values and missions were in alignment, and it became clear to me that it would be beneficial to have the Areti team in the trenches with me as Dos Amigos scales.”

Construction on the Dos Amigos brick-and-mortar, located in the space that formerly housed Stella’s restaurant, bar, and café in Collegetown, began in January 2020 and comprised of a complete interior demolition and overhaul of the wiring and plumbing, as part of the space’s redesign.

“From our perspective, the role of a building company is to capture the voice of the customer, and then to make sure that voice doesn’t get distorted through all the layers and phases of building,” said Waring, “However, in the construction industry, we often see architects and builders dictating the process, which can lead to a misalignment with the customer’s wants and needs. We decided early on that our business model would be customer-centered.”

With over 70 years of combined building and service experience, the Areti team has completed numerous renovations on private homes and businesses. The local construction company is a Best of HomeAdvisor 2019 Winner and a certified Living Wage Employer in Tompkins County.

The newly renovated space has a clean and modern vibe with casual seating, as well as a standing counter for those on-the-go. Painted in large blue script above the standing counter  is “Making Life a Little Better,” acknowledging Dos Amigos’ planned commitment to experiential learning, in addition to serving mouthwatering food. “Establishing the brick-and-mortar is about having a home where we can congregate and build a more sustainable community—this applies to both our team and our guests. I think it will allow us to become a staple in the community—the way that Collegetown Bagels is a staple in Ithaca—and we can’t do that with a food truck alone,” stated Bouras.

Dos Amigos originally planned to open its doors to the public in late March, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the team has quickly switched gears to provide meals for pick-up (currently from 536 Thurston Avenue) and local delivery, which can be ordered via their website, or UberEats. “We hope to have some ‘care packages’ available through delivery which will include some of our recipes and raw ingredients at cost, so our customers who are staying at home right now can take a stab at cooking like the Dos Amigos team,” said Bouras.

Be sure to check out Dos Amigos’ Facebook and Instagram for updates on their services during this time. Once the brick-and-mortar officially opens to the public, the beloved food truck will be operating full-time at Ithaca College, just outside the Circles Apartments complex.

Both Bouras and Waring expressed appreciation for the resources and support their businesses have received since becoming Rev member companies, but according to the founders, one of the biggest benefits is the valuable connections they have made at the incubator.  

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been having a conversation about a design aspect of this project with one of my team members and said ‘Hey, Jorge is right there—let’s go ask him what he thinks,’ which from the perspective of being more customer-responsive is really good, and Rev has facilitated that,” stated Waring, “Also, the pure access to knowledge and talent here is incredible. For instance, if I have a financial question, or a question that pertains to a tangential piece of our business, I know there is an expert an email away, or who is seated a few tables away, and I think that is a really unique experience.”

“Rev has provided us with a lot of resources. It would have been a lot harder to get where we are right now without Rev” added Bouras, “Additionally, I appreciate the opportunities to socialize with others through the workshops and networking nights here. If I don’t have interaction with people outside of just ‘Let’s talk finances,’ I would lose my mind, so I really appreciate the social aspect that Rev provides to members as well.”