After four decades, Roy’s Taco House is closing

Sally Eberhardt
KAYLEEN FULCHER, owner of Roy’s Taco House, in Geneseo, stands behind the counter of the 
restaurant. Roy’s will close at the end of January after nearly 45 years in business.

For many area residents, Roy’s Taco House is about the unique, secret blend of spices. For other patrons, it might be about the cozy, enduring atmosphere. However, for owner Kayleen Fulcher, it’s about the people.

As Roy’s Taco House prepares to close the book on nearly 45 years in Geneseo, Fulcher reflects not on the countless hours she and late husband, John, logged, but on employees.

Fulcher estimates that the number has “exceeded over 1,000 employees”

“I’m reluctant to mention anyone, in particular, I’m afraid I’ll neglect someone else and everyone has been so important to me,” said Fulcher.

“So many people got a start in the world of work here. They paid their dues,” she said.

However, a few names and faces do stand out in Fulcher’s mind. “Elizabeth Holt has been our go-to girl for the taste of Roy’s and has been employed for 29 years.

“We’ve always been blessed to have the right people at the right time.” Fulcher said.

Other recent employees include Walkie VanOpdorp and Penny Nelson, who have fulfilled several roles.

“Both have done so much to maintain and improve what we do here,” said Fulcher, who added others who rank in the history of Roy’s are Bud Lyford, Dave Powell, Adam Kane and Jen Douglass

“I would have been lost without these folks and all the others too,” she said.

Fulcher was raised an Iowa farm girl and later became a home economics major.

After marrying John and raising their four children, Fulcher knew she was being called to continue the Roy’s tradition.

When her husband died in 2002, Fulcher continued the business alongside daughter, Margo.

Over the years, the Fulcher children — Margo, Ryan, Devin and Rory — all played a role in the Roy’s Taco House story, but their mother has remained the constant and guiding spirit since 2002.

A favorite G.K. Chesterton quote of Fulcher’s is “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

“That quote pretty much sums me up!’ Fulcher chuckled.

At the end of January, the business will close, and Fulcher plans to “sort out 40 years of business accumulation and personal eclectic collectibles.”