Founder, President, and CEO of Taco Casa, Rod Wilkin knows how important choices are in his life. Rod grew up in Wichita, Kansas where he was a star athlete at his high school lettering in football, basketball and track. Several smaller schools had recruited him out of high school until a chance encounter would forever change his path. A good friend and high school teammate of his, Fred Harvey, went to Hutchinson Junior College in Hutchinson, Kansas to visit his future football coach. Fred offhandedly asked Rod if he would like to ride with him, and Rod chose to go. While there, the coach mentioned that he had heard of Rod and offered him a scholarship to play football for the Blue Dragons. Success followed Rod to junior college and after the 1967 season he was named a junior college All-American as a kicking specialist. Scholarship offers rolled in by the dozen and he thought he would sign with Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska, or Miami. Then the phone rang and a deep baritone voice on the other end of the line asked Rod to come down to Tuscaloosa for a visit. After working out for and meeting with Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Rod chose to sign a letter of intent to play for the Crimson Tide.
In September of 1967 Rod found himself living in Bryant Hall as an Alabama football player. Living in Bryant Hall had its advantages being in your bed by the 10 pm curfew was not one of them. Rod and his roommates would watch the fraternity parties going on outside and talk about what they wanted to do with their lives. Being from the Midwest, Rod missed the Mexican and Tex-Mex fast food that was lacking in Tuscaloosa. Rod enlightened his roommates on his plan to someday open a Mexican restaurant in Tuscaloosa. During Rod's years under Coach Bryant he learned a great deal about football, but the ultimate lessons that he took from the Capstone were the life lessons of hard work, dedication, and determination. After his college experiences, Rod began to chase his dream of opening a restaurant. Having eaten many times at the very first Pizza Hut located in Wichita, Kansas and started by the Carney brothers, Rod decided to work at Pizza Hut on Skyland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa. He gained more restaurant experience at Joe Namath's Bachelor's Three on 15th Street. After meeting and falling in love with a Northport girl, Susan Strong, while in school the two married and headed back to Wichita. Where Rod put his dreams on hold and chose to work with his dad in the construction industry.