Meet Vantigo: Justin McGonigal

This series will introduce you to the individuals who the individuals who work in front (and behind) of the scenes (local attraction pun intended) at Vantigo. First up, hailing from Sacramento by way of New Jersey, is Justin. 

How did you find out about Vantigo?

It all started when my sister asked me if I wanted to go for a ride in her friends van- to which I of course said yes! When we headed out to catch our ride, six packs in hand, I was stoked to see a vintage, shining red VW van pulling up to the curb. I had seen the same van putting around the city, but didn’t think much of it at first. The driver, Erik, turned out to be my sister’s friend’s husband. After a joy ride hitting the back alleys of SF Erik and I became fast friends. The rest, as they say, is history.

What were you doing before you started at Vantigo, and what prompted you to make the switch?

Before Vantigo I was doing inside sales for various tech companies. As much as I enjoyed the free snacks and happy hours with coworkers, my life on the phone with faceless customers was wearing on me. When I heard that the Vantigo fleet was expanding I jumped at the opportunity. Similar to watching a great movie you’ve already seen with someone who hasn’t, I was excited by the prospect of getting to show people the city that I know and love. Going on an adventure every day with strangers from all over the world sounded like my ideal job description.

What is your favorite part about working at Vantigo?

My favorite part of working at Vantigo is the rewarding feeling that I get knowing that I’ve made someone’s vacation that much more enjoyable. Whether it’s giving them fun facts about the city, sharing an embarrassing story, or watching them have a goofy photo shoot in front of the van, I feel a sense of pride being a part of their SF experience. My other favorite part about Vantigo is its potential growth. We are a growing fleet and are always working on new tours and adventures. At just over two years old, who knows where we’ll be two years from now!

What is your favorite San Francisco neighborhood to explore?

Currently my favorite neighborhood to explore is the Mission District. Sure the burritos are amazing, but what I’ve really been enjoying exploring is the art scene- especially the murals. The Mission is the best place to check out awesome street art that has a strong connection to the Central American and Hispanic influences that are present in the neighborhood.

Do you have a hidden talent?

I can pop my shoulders out of their sockets and get out of a straight jacket just like Mel Gibson in lethal weapon. True story.

What is your go-to burrito spot in San Francisco?

My go to burrito spot (at the moment) has to be El Faralito- which means lighthouse. (I learned that from one of my passengers 🙂 ) The burritos are about the size of a small child and extremely authentic. However don’t show up expecting to find a seat to eat your giant burrito- this place is a true hole in the wall.

What superpower would you most want to have?

I would want to have a super intellect so I could quickly learn new languages and read books lightning fast. I want to be the most interesting man in the world. Stay thirsty my friends.

Ideal day in SF?

I would start off by getting french toast at my local brunch spot Olea. Next, a nice scooter ride up to twin peaks to take in the view. Of course, by this point I’m hungry again so it’s off to the Mission to grab a burrito from La Taqueria and head to Dolores Park. I would stuff my face and wash it down with a Fort Point Crisp Kolsch while enjoying the local hulahoopers and stick jugglers. To finish up- an ice cream at Bi Rite then take in a comedy film at the Kabuki Theater. (They also serve great beer!) 🙂

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