Meet Norman Goodson.
DT: Can you tell us your District Taco story? How did you get here?
NG: I started out at District Taco last April. I was looking for another job and District Taco was one of the first places that caught my attention when I started my search. I messaged the Regional Manager, and he emailed me back the same day. I was hired as an AGM and have been in that role ever since!
What restaurant did you start at?
My first day of work and training was at Metro Center. Then after the completion of my training, I started at Tenleytown and was there for about 2 months before moving to Riverdale Park for the opening of this restaurant.
What was it like opening a new restaurant in Riverdale Park? How does the Maryland market compare/differ from the DC market?
Because I have been in the DC locations that are all very business-casual, "walk up and go", the Maryland location is totally different. It is much more of a family environment. That was the biggest change for me. I basically had to slow everything down and get away from the fast-paced environment to focus more on the customer experience and customer interaction. That was probably the biggest change but I don’t think there were huge obstacles or big hurdles. Well, other than the training, of course. Being that we do a lot of hands on training and a lot of prep here at DT, training has been the hardest part. A lot of people who applied to a position here, came in with minimal experience, so we had to really start from scratch. The transition for everyone has definitely been the most difficult part.
What made you get into food?
I have been in the food world since I was 15 years old. I’ve worked in fast food and fine dining. I started out originally in fine dining bussing tables and as a bar assistant, worked my way up to being a host, and then started serving. After that I moved over into the fast casual world and have never looked back. Food always supported me through college and I have always been passionate about eating! Food is something I always turned to- when I’m happy, sad- food has always been there.
Did you go to college in DC?
I did not. I went to college in Philly! I went to Lincoln University, about 35-40 minutes from Philly. After my 4 years, I stayed in Philly for about a year and then made my way back to DC.
Did you pursue a degree involving the food industry?
Not in college, no. I did a basic college course around hospitality management, but it wasn’t until I was in my management role here that I really got into management and obtained my licenses and certifications. I never thought I’d be in the management side of the hospitality. I had always just been a worker. It never crossed my mind until somebody said,
…and I was!
Do you like to cook for yourself?
No. When I’m at home someone else can cook! I don’t mind a home cooked meal if someone else is making it. Because I cook all day I like to take a break from it when I am at home.
What do you do when you’re not at work? What are you passionate about?
When I’m not at work most of the time I hang out with my family. My sister and my nephew are the closest family members I have and most of the time when I’m off you can find me doing something with them. If I am not with them, I am just a really chill person. I like to go to the park, to ride my bike, I like to play cards. I still feel like I’m in the college role and am trying to adapt back from that lifestyle.
So something that a lot of people know about you is that you love your glasses. How did you get into that?
My junior year of high school someone bought me a pair of glasses and said "you look really good in them." And from that day forward, I was like you know what? I do! I’m going to rock it. Now I have bought them in all kinds of designs and I just fell in love with the personality. It’s me now. My mom even told me,
How many pairs of glasses do have? Where do you get them all?
Easily 75-100 pairs of glasses. I get most of them from beauty supply stores. Wherever I can. If I find a beauty supply store I always stop because you can always find a nice pair of glasses. That's where I got the ones I’m wearing right now.
Lastly, what is your go to DT order?
It’s not actually officially on the menu, but I get Breakfast Nachos "Norman Way". So I do Breakfast Nachos with the scrambled eggs & potato on top, but instead of the Queso, I do Salsa de Chile. So it’s chips, beans, egg, potato, cheese with sour cream and Salsa de Chile on top. It's so good!
Make sure to visit Norman and the rest of the DT crew at our Riverdale Park location, amigos! If you would like to nominate a District Taco employee to be featured on our blog, be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!