Open Thread On The Taqueria

Originally posted 8/30, promoted 9/10:

The rumor mill will churn, whether we stir it or not, so there seems no harm in opening up a thread for (ideally informed) comment on the situation. Is there a new location in the works? What’s going to occupy the space? And… why?

(A fitting place to mention that our Summer of Death series failed to cover the passing of Gidget, the Taco Bell dog.)

20 thoughts on “Open Thread On The Taqueria”

  1. city size complex, anyone? obviously what we lack in size we more than make up for with our drama.

  2. AS220 is not “sucking lately”; they are doing what is right. The taqueria are stuck up hipster racist. They suck, and are horrendous at attempting to mimic Mexican food. So everyone who has absolutely no idea what you are talking about, go bike to another shitty vegan restaurant or hang out side of Julians and maybe learn more about your community before you say things that are incorrect.

  3. ass220 has been sucking lately. they want absolute control over the restaurant because taqueria didnt represent their politics well enough. so they evicted them.

  4. If these minutes are genuine (and they sound like it) they paint a favorable picture for AS220. If they’re accurate, then it sounds like AS220 has every reason to evict TP. I don’t understand why the poster seems to think otherwise.

  5. The approved minutes are published on the AS220 site, though you have to poke around. The most recent set I’ve found were for August 2008 (, but there must be more recent ones there, as AS220’s other online records are quite ample and accessible. I have reason to believe that the leaked 8/18/09 minutes (above, from JR) are an unapproved draft.

    We’re all losing something special in the departure of TP from the AS220 umbrella space, though opinions have been differing wildly about who’s losing the most (other than, obviously, the TP employees losing their jobs). It’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of a fine part of it right here. Without pointing any fingers, I hope that we’re all thinking about how to avoid repeating this sad bit of history.

    (Note: This post was removed at my request and re-submitted after an edit.)

  6. Mark – Agreed, it’s sad. And kind of pathetic in a way.

    Newman – Agreed, let’s move on. That it’s so big a deal is kind of pathetic in a way.

    What’s clear from the minutes is that as220 knows they have found themselves in a bad situation. They say themselves that they need food service as part of the enterprise, that they need some level of control, and that they do not see themselves as the natural provider of that service.

    Anybody who’s old enough to remember the first cafe in the performance space (’93 – ’94?) knows that as220 is not super thrilled with the idea of trying to do it themselves. But, in good truth, they really need to. What kind of business wants their landlord second-guessing everything they do?

    My sense: as220 needs to either step up to the plate and develop a real and true competency in food service AND customer service, or recognize that they can’t have it both ways.

    My prediction: retry with the same flawed model with, eventually, identical results.

  7. I don’t understand what in those minutes is supposed to make AS220 look bad. There was obviously a lot of tension, and it seems clear that it’s better to separate the parties than to let things fester. (The Taqueria’s been way self righteous, but hasn’t made a great defense to the criticisms of it.) It could easily find success somewhere else if it wants too, and AS220 will open up a new restaurant — so there’s probably going to be a net gain in jobs. Let’s get over this and move the hell on.

  8. I saw the minutes posted on (up for several days) and , having voyeuristic curiosity about the controversy, read them with interest. That was the only place I saw them posted after searching the internet for more info on the situation.

    Board minutes are not made available on as220’s website (at least not currently as far as I can tell) and therefore I assume they are not meant for public viewing. To say that “as220’s goon squad keeps removing these. seems like they don’t want anyone to see them.” is to ignore that that were almost certainly posted without as220’s permission and thus violating of the confidentiality they have every right to expect.

    Since you just posted these minutes as UN: happymeal on LON as well, we know you are Cody Thompson, an employee of the TP, and the source of some angry posts and personal attacks in that thread. Are you UN: shamalama and sallie as well?

    I imagine as220 would be very interested in knowing how you got access to the minutes of the board meeting.

    You should be aware that the petulant and aggressive behavior you have engaged in in your attempts to make as220 look bad have mainly served to make you and your side of the argument much less sympathetic to those outside of the situation.

  9. found this on the internet (i love you internet!) it is the meeting minutes where as220 decides to give taqueria pacifica the boot.

    if you like it, save it cuz as220’s goon squad keeps removing these.

    seems like they don’t want anyone to see them.



    August 18, 2009


    Present: Matt Cullina, Seth Price, Richard Welch, Chandelle Wilson, Shauna Duffy, Sam Seidel, Jack Templin

    Absent – With Notice: Michael Chazan, Jonathan Bonner, Clay Rockefeller, Marie Hearn, Kipp Bradford, Christine White, Laura Travis, Adeola Orindola
    – Without notice: John Scott, Kara Orr, Marlaine Noel

    AS220 Staff Present: Umberto Crenca, David Ortiz, Xander Marro, Anne Kugler

    Guests: Yilda Sanchez, prospective Board member

    Call to Order: Matt Cullina, Board Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:20 p.m. (Note: The meeting start time was delayed due to a lack of a quorum. Suspension of August Board Meetings in future years was discussed due to historically weak attendance). The Board Chair also noted that September will be an important meeting, as there will be several votes and updates related to the Mercantile project.
    Taqueria Pacifica (TP) update:
    There have been continued incidents between TP and AS220 staff and youth, all of which have been documented in dated testimony taken by Xander.
    As of the date of this meeting, TP is 18 days late on rent, 3 days later than the 15 day grace period allowed by the terms of the lease. They are also several months behind in utilities. In light of this breach of contract, papers to begin eviction proceedings were filed today (8/18/09) at approximately 3p.m. with a lawyer recommended by Richard.
    The filing of papers means TP can no longer cure. If they attempt to pay the rent, it cannot be accepted by AS220.
    There will be a hearing 8 business days after the papers are served (which is expected to be 8/20 or 8/21). TP still has legal access to the space until the conclusion of the hearings.
    At issue is the $50k Key & Access Fee (akin to a security deposit). AS220 hopes to recoup back rent and utilities as well as possibly a few months’ forward rent. Unless there are damages to the space, AS220 intends to return the balance to TP. This means AS220 needs to be prepared in terms of cash flow. Xander indicated that this will not be an issue.
    The staff present thanked Richard for his assistance and his recommendation of a lawyer.
    Discussion was held regarding future use of the space. There has been some initial planning, but with no expectation that it would be imminent. All agree that there needs to be food served in that space, but what has been learned is that it needs to be complementary to the mission of AS220 and AS220 needs to have a certain amount of control. This leads to a conclusion that AS220 may need to run the space, although that is not definite.
    Discussion was held regarding the various financial impacts, including loss of the budgeted rent until the space is worked out and the probable negative impact on the bar.
    Discussion was held regarding what the Board, staff and youth should say if asked about the situation. Richard clarified that no one can mention it outside of this meeting until the papers are served. At that time, all that should be said is that TP broke the terms of their lease. Xander stated that a staff meeting would be held on Thursday to discuss how to handle it with staff, and Anne stated that a similar meeting would be held with all BSS youth.
    Other issues raised were that AS220 may try to include a directive that TP may not slander AS220 in the settlement, knowing it is difficult to enforce, but hoping it might have an effect. In addition, it was decided that Susan Clausen should take a photographic inventory of the space before the papers are served.
    There was significant discussion about public relations fall out related to the eviction. David and Jack indicated that they would assist in the contacting of a PR firm to determine what, if anything, AS220 should do to try to control the fall out. It was also indicated that the sooner there is food back in the space, the sooner the issues would deescalate for most patrons.
    The Board expressed concern that the staff not feel unsupported in this decision. Therefore:
    Richard made a motion to ratify the action initiated to evict the Taqueria Pacifica. Seth seconded. The Board unanimously approved.


    “tyler weighs in:
    here it is, the official story of just what is going on with the taqueria.
    Zander and bert filed eviction papers to evict taqueria pacifica and all it’s employees on the 18th. the rent was due by the 15th, but instead of just picking it up like they usually do — we share an address — they waited for us to slip and nailed us. it’s all up to the courts but the bottom line is they are railroading small business because we don’t go along with their agenda — whatever the heck that is. this was made apparently obvious when zander refused rent yesterday. they just want us gone. too subversive, i guess. those rebellious burritos. whatever. the tp will most likely rear it’s head again, either here or not. but thank you to everyone who has eaten our food and supported us. tenants of theirs should beware. you could be next. — more later. aloha–”


    “Hi all-
    Firstly, I’d like you all to know that I respect the discussion that is happening in this forum. I fully recognize that AS220 and the Taqueria are part of all of our shared community, and that this situation affects many people in it. Your desire for more information, as well as your investment in this process, is valid.

    Of course, there is another side I could add to Tyler’s assessment of the situation. However, I don’t think its in anyone’s best interest to get into a flame war on LON. We are maintaining a civil conversation outside of the limelight as this situation progresses. Until the next steps are firmed up either through negotiations or through a court agreement, I can only offer the following:

    It was mutually agreed that the relationship between AS220 and the Taqueria was not working. This was addressed with good faith by both sides. It became clear that both sides felt they had expressed a desire to renegotiate, reconcile, or end the relationship in the past, but somehow these desires were never totally clear to one another. They violated the terms of their lease, opening up an opportunity for us to bring the situation out of the standstill that it had been in. In terms of refusing their rent yesterday, that was a matter of protocol and was on instructions from our lawyer. We have told them that we are willing to negotiate to make the transition work for them and their employees, who are certainly not being disregarded or thought of lightly through this process, and AS220 has every intention of returning their security deposit.

    We have no intention of expanding the bar. There will be some kind of food offering available, however, there are no specific plans for this at this time…We’re working on it though! (I have to admit to laughing aloud at all of the things that Reposludegoblin had read about going into the space on the daily dose – none of them are true)

    I totally understand that this action has an effect on many people and on many aspects of this community, and that there will be a variety of responses and complicated feelings about the issue. I appreciate that many of you want to have a better understanding of the situation before making judgments, and appreciate your understanding that the situation is more complicated than a single blog thread can make clear.”

  11. I agree. And although I’m not a lawyer, I highly doubt you could evict someone for being a day or two late on their rent.

    Everyone who seems upset by this seems to follow the logic of:
    I like TP’s tacos.
    TP was evicted by AS220.
    Therefore AS220 sucks.

    Maybe they do. Or maybe AS220 had a real reason for doing what they did. Either way the Providence rumor mill will never lead you to the truth no matter how much fun it is to join in on the speculation party.

  12. I just spent 15 minutes going throught the pages at LON, and feel all the dumber for it.

    Between the insults and general idiocy, what I can glean is that things hadn’t been working out between TP and AS220 for a while. AS220 waited for TP to be a day late on their lease and BAM – hit them with an eviction notice.

    * This info is from posts by people claiming to be the owner of TP and the Managing director of AS220. There’s a WHOLE lot of rumor/opinion/slander/gossip on that forum. Enter at your own risk.

  13. The Summer of Death was too exhausted covering human fatalities to worry animal fatalities. We did, however, mourn Gidget in our own, special way.

  14. As much as I like AS220, I’d like to give the Taqueria the benefit of the doubt in any sort of dispute. That said, I can’t imagine the Taqueria getting a better situation than the one at AS220. I’m assuming that the rent that they pay is relatively cheap compared to comparable locations. Plus, the AS220 bar is a huge add-on without having to deal with hassels of a liquor license. I’m curious to hear more details about what happenned and also curious if the Taqueria is going to relocate.

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