The corner of Foster Place and Union Street has a history of restaurants coming in with big plans but ultimately failing to stay afloat. Mr. Taco, an authentic mexican restaurant, opened in the latter part of spring semester last year. Hoping to build off America’s love of Mexican food, that only seems to be growing, Mr. Taco had big dreams here in Athens.
Initially, I would walk past the restaurant everyday and not pay much attention to it. Finally a day came where I was hungry but not willing to walk far for food. This was Mr. Taco’s time to shine. This was what Mr. Taco was all about. It was a special treat for residents of Foster Place who didn’t want to walk too far for a meal.
Over the next few months, I understood exactly what I wanted from Mr. Taco and it was never anything complicated. Their limes and onions were clearly cut a day before actually being served. Their burritos were dry and underwhelming. Only one thing on the menu kept me coming back, the nachos. Mr. Taco’s nachos were their magnum opus. The nachos were a flurry of cheese, meat, lettuce, and sliced vegetables. I didn’t know how fresh the ingredients were and I didn’t care. For those few times I had the opportunity to sit down and relish in the Mr. Taco atmosphere it took me to another world. The dimly lit dining area combined with the strange art that was probably bought a thrift store brought me to a place that was unequivocally Mr. Taco.
Sometime in August, I was walking down my usual route from Baker back to Foster Place and what was there the day before was gone. Mr. Taco’s door was locked and its lights off. I went back to my roommates and we all agreed that they were simply on vacation. Mr. and Mrs. Taco were off in some tropical paradise to celebrate their great and profitable summer.
The vacation didn’t end and walking by again, I saw a letter from the IRS sticking out of the mailbox. There was no spin to this, Mr. Taco had died and it was all our fault. If only the residents of Foster Place bought one more plate of nachos or a few more dry burritos, Mr. Taco would still be standing.