TOLEDO, Ohio — A restaurant opening Tuesday morning in downtown Toledo is bringing some authentic Mexican flavor and burgers inspired by cars. Below the surface, the restaurant is helping change one man's life after a chance meeting with a stranger.
For Rooster Tinch, hearing the sizzle of the grill brings him back to his roots when he owned a taco truck in the 80s.
The 30 years of odd jobs and life in between has him looking at life through a different lens.
"Well, I got in some trouble and I ended up in prison, so when I got out of prison, it was time for a new start," Tinch said.
Arriving in Toledo in January with nothing, he began selling the Toledo Street Paper and that's where he met Jacob Estrada.
"He was just watching me work and I'm out there selling papers all the time, usually 7 o'clock in the morning to 5:30 in the evening," Tinch said.
Estrada works for a parking company downtown. He and Rooster struck up conversation from time to time and became friends.
"I've seen Rooster out every day hustling selling those Toledo Street Papers and he does it diligently, he does it with all he has," Estrada said.
Estrada had no idea Rooster also came with three decades of restaurant, cafeteria and culinary science experience.
"One he said he had experience, even more the better. To me it wasn't coincidence," Estrada said.
Starting Tuesday morning, Rooster is a full-time employee of Estrada at his brand new restaurant, The Low Rider Cafe in Downtown Toledo. For Tinch, this is much more than a job.
"These people mean the world to me. That they trust me, that they took me in, they're most definitely my second family," Tinch said.
For Estrada, giving Rooster a second chance is what he was raised to do.
"There's a common thing in the Spanish culture. Once you get to know someone, you call them compadre or you call them primo which means cuz, and even if you're not cousins or compadres by blood, it's just that's the way we were raised. You embrace people and you receive them like family," Estrada said.