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UFC star Adesanya buys into popular Auckland eatery

Christopher Reive,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Apr 2024, 1:36pm

UFC star Adesanya buys into popular Auckland eatery

Christopher Reive,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Apr 2024, 1:36pm

Broke Boy Taco is looking to expand its operation, and Israel Adesanya has joined the journey.

The two-time UFC middleweight champion has bought into Sean Yarbrough’s thriving Mt Albert eatery, whose birria taco recipe has people lining up en masse to get their hands on one.

“I’m just here to help. I’m not trying to take over or anything like that – I’d rather be a silent partner,” Adesanya told the Herald.

“Broke Boy Taco, Broken Native, it just linked up perfectly. I’m just here to help share his birria taco recipe with the rest of Auckland, and hopefully Australia and wherever else we go – probably the world. Who knows. We’ll find out.”

Adesanya and his brother David have been Broke Boy regulars from the early stages of Yarbrough’s operation and thought that the American had something special on his hands, though investing wasn’t something that Adesanya had initially planned.

“If it was shit I wouldn’t go near it. When I used to go there by the 4th or 5th time, I was like, ‘Man, this is so good, this is going to blow up. I’d really like to help this guy blow up’ but was like ‘Nah, you know what Israel, don’t impose. He’s already on his own path.’

“I just didn’t say anything, and he had the same thought, didn’t say anything, and organically it just came through and now we’re here.”

Yarbrough, who moved to New Zealand from San Francisco in March 2021, began selling tacos at pop-up stalls on the street before moving into his current Mt Albert store in 2023.

Yarbrough told the Herald after telling David of his plans to take over one of the neighbouring stores to extend his current one to allow for higher output as well as include such things as more seating and serving alcohol on site, he got a message soon after asking if he needed any financial help.

“We had met up and just chopped it up and yeah, it just makes sense, man,” Yarbrough said. “Our brands align real well, we like the same things, we’re around the same age; I mean, I’m not as famous as Izzy, but our stories are pretty similar - we both kind of came from nothing and are dominating our respective professions.”

Yarbrough remains the majority owner while Adesanya has “a piece of the pie” as the only other investor in the business – which is likely to stay that way.

“I’m not really interested in having any other investors on board,” Yarbrough said.

“I always wanted it to be just me from day one, but obviously as the business grows, I’m already working quite crazy week hours and as it grows I can’t continue to do it all myself. It’s just not possible.

“My big way of promoting Broke Boy is social media and I’m doing pretty good on my own on social media. But to bring on Izzy is just a big deal, and the Adesanyas as a whole, to just be able to walk me through as things get bigger and more people start to recognise me, it’s good to have them on board and point me in the right direction and fully support me, my dream and my vision.

“I don’t think I would do it with anyone else. I’ve had other people approach me and businesspeople approach me and try to invest but I’ve said no thanks.”

Yarbrough has big plans for the future of Broke Boy too. Along with expanding the Mt Albert store – he’s hoping to get some food trailers and a food truck – with gold rims – that he can take around New Zealand, with the idea of making a TV show out of that adventure.

“That’s the current plan and, from there, I’ve had so many people message me about franchises, bro. Everybody wants to buy a franchise, so that’s in the future. When? I don’t know, but that’s the plan,” he said.

“My dream is to have 30 or 40 Broke Boys all over the world, so we’re going to keep going. We’re hitting the ground running and I feel like right now I got the lion by the tail and we’re going to make it work.”

Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.

This article was originally posted on the NZ Herald here.

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