Cooking is in Jeronimo Madril’s blood. The native Tucsonan grew up in the kitchen of Longhorn Bar and Grill in Amado, where his dad was the chef and owner until 2012. After working almost every job in the kitchen from dishwasher to line cook, Madril decided to open his own food truck as a way to feed the community he loves.
“I’ve always liked kitchens—the energy, the gratitude … what attracted me to being a chef was the people,” Madril said. He started busing tables at Longhorn Bar and Grill around age 8, moved on to tossing pizzas at the family pizzeria soon after, and at age 16 got a job at Delectables on Fourth Avenue, where Madril pushed his way to dishwashing, and eventually food preparation. One busy night, he got called to work the line. “I got my ass kicked,” Madril said with a chuckle. And he wanted to learn more. As a 20-year-old culinary student at The Art Institute of Tucson, he learned about pastry, Asian cuisine, and fermentation, among other things. After graduating from The Art Institute in 2013, Madril got a job in catering at the former Marriott, now Tucson University Park Hotel, on University.
Madril had spent his teenage years skateboarding around Fourth Avenue and Barrio Centro, and still felt a deep sense of belonging there. “Growing up on Fourth Ave., if you ever get the opportunity to work at Che’s [Lounge], you do it,” he explained. While working at Che’s Lounge, Madril connected with the Barrio Centro community through Flowers and Bullets, a local organization that encourages sustainable living in the Barrio by sharing skills, making connections, and listening.
Flowers and Bullets encouraged Madril to start his own food truck, and offered him some of the connections and entrepreneurial knowledge he needed to do so. It was through Flowers and Bullets that Madril met André Newman, co-owner of Purple Tree Organic Açaí Blends, who gave him advice and sold him a food truck in 2015. “Without Flowers and Bullets I would never have met André or started the food truck,” Madril said. After two years of gradually buying equipment for the food truck, Madril opened Geronimo’s Revenge in March 2017.
Geronimo’s Revenge echoes the idea that, when you invest in your community, it affects everyone. “One of the biggest goals of the truck is to buy from local purveyors and people,” Madril said. He sources as much food as possible from farmers’ markets, local farms, and backyard gardeners. Food that can be composted is composted; everything else goes to feed a friend’s pig. The mural on the side of the truck changes seasonally, features local artists, and promotes the idea that “you should get paid for your art,” Madril said. And the food is downright delicious.
The rotating menu at Geronimo’s Revenge caters to a broad spectrum of dietary needs and preferences. While The Tucsono, a bun stuffed with slow-simmered citrus pork, Black Forest ham, cabbage, and yogurt crema, is Madril’s favorite menu item, he realizes that “everyone has to eat.” And so, he serves vegan mac and cheese, provides healthy options, and stays open until 2 a.m. on the weekend. “When everybody works together, we can feed our awesome avenue and community,” Madril said.