Chef Alex Stupak’s red-hot NYC Mexican restaurant Empellón is serving up some of the city’s finest tacos — but rather than al pastor or carnitas, they’re filled with corn ice cream. Though genius, Stupak is hardly the first person to dream up dessert tacos; that high honor belongs to the man behind the nostalgic ice cream truck favorite the Choco Taco.
This video digs into the deep-freeze to discover the man behind this unusual frozen treat: Alan Drazen. An embellished version of the origin story Drazen likes to tell involves a dessert taco mirage appearing in the middle of the desert, but the truth is a bit less sensational: Back in 1983, he worked for an ice cream manufacturer in Philadelphia and, inspired by the explosive growth of Mexican food in the U.S., decided to create a frozen dessert riff on the taco.
Originally sold via ice cream trucks, the Choco Taco’s big break came when Drazen was able to get some independent Taco Bell franchisees to carry his product — and eventually, Taco Bell HQ got wind of it and decided to sell the treat in all its stores. Now, a billion Choco Tacos have been sold, or about three for every man, woman, and child in America. As Drazen demonstrates, there’s even a Choco Taco theme song.