Mom’s empty taco shop fills with customers after daughter’s TikTok post

Isabel Milan posted a message Wednesday night. By the time she woke up it had a million likes, and there was a line of customers outside her mom’s taco shop in Glenview.

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Isabel Milan holds up the TikTok post on her phone that drew support for her mother’s taco stand in Glenview.

Isabel Milan holds up the TikTok post on her phone that drew support for her mother’s taco stand in Glenview.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Business was light. Maybe 10 to 20 customers a day.

Isabel Milan and her mother, Joy Milan, who opened a taco shop in Glenview on Oct. 1, had been entertaining themselves by playing UNO and board games between filling orders.

The name of the taco shop, Taco-Bout-Joy’s, was a play on words. But not many people seemed to be talking about it. And it began to weigh on her mother.

“I noticed how unmotivated she was and how worried about the store she was,” Isabel Milan said. “And I felt very emotional because she works very hard and deserves recognition and happiness and wealth.”

So last week , Milan, 23, posted a video of her mom at the empty taco shop on TikTok along with this message: “It breaks my heart to see my mom watching the door everyday waiting for a customer to walk in.”

The post got 200 likes in about a minute. 

“I thought ‘That’s strange,’” recalled Milan, who lives in Oak Park.

By the time she woke up, it had 1 million likes.


An image from the video that Isabel MIlan posted to TikTok shows her mother, Joy, at her empty taco shop in Glenview last week.


When she arrived to work in the morning, a line of customers was waiting outside the shop at 909A Greenwood Road.

“I got a little nervous because it’s only me and my mom. So we called everyone we knew and, by the end of the night, had 15 friends and family there to help,” Milan said Tuesday while taking orders and working the register. 

Her mother couldn’t talk. She was too busy working the grill. Lots of orders were still coming in.

“I really didn’t think anyone was going to come. But I think it’s great. We are like over the moon,” Milan said.

The post had received 6 million likes as of Tuesday. People were coming to eat and express support for the business from all parts of the Chicago area as well as out-of-towners.

“We’ve had people who are vacationing in Chicago stop in, including one couple from Texas who saw the post and came to eat before heading to the airport,” she said.

The TikTok message was originally posted to Milan’s personal account, which, after the attention it received, became the taco shop’s official account and jumped from 200 followers to more than 237,000.

The recent boom in business has been the ultimate Christmas gift.

And it boosted the bond between Milan and her mother, who lives in Sycamore.

“Before working here with my mother, I didn’t see her much, so this kind of brought us closer together,” Milan said.

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