Beloved west Eugene business El Taco Taco has closed after its food cart trailer was stolen sometime between late night Saturday, Sept. 17, and early morning Sunday, Sept. 18.
The food cart business was a dream for the owners, says their daughter Elsy Campos, but now the popular taco business is reassessing its future.
Campos says insurance would cover repairs if the cart is found or the cost to replace it if it’s not recovered. But Campos says she and her parents contacted the manufacturer of the trailer and the costs have doubled due to inflation and supply chain issues. “It’s $80,000 now,” she says. “They bought it for around $40,000 to $44,000 last year.”
She says Eugene police are awaiting any tips on places the trailer has been seen last before investigating. But her parents have come to terms that the food cart trailer may not be in good shape if it is recovered and will take time to repair. And if they buy a new trailer, building it could take about four to six months, she adds.
El Taco Taco was at 10 North Seneca Road and was about to celebrate its one year anniversary. She says her parents had always loved eating al pastor when they lived in Mexico. “He thought if you could do that with al pastor you should be able to do it with steak as well,” she says, referring to how al pastor is cooked on a spit. “That’s what started it all.”
After working for an independent catering business, where he was cooking out of his garage, Campos’ parents realized their dream and opened El Taco Taco in October 2021. Her father’s style of cooking steak like al pastor caught on. “They’re really tender, so it’s like melt-in-your-mouth steak that’s cooked as the spit turns throughout the day,” she says of the meat.
The restaurant was also a popular place for quesabirria, cheese melted on corn tortillas then filled with marinated meat served alongside broth. Campos says her mother had been cooking for as long as she can remember and made it fresh every day.
All of El Taco Taco’s kitchen equipment was stolen along with the food cart, so Campos says her parents are trying to find ways to cook catering meals they have booked for later this week. Once those obligations are met, she says they’re wondering what the next steps are.
“They’re looking at this after evaluating this, maybe just catering is what we need to do,” she says. “Or maybe a set brick and mortar location.”
So far there hasn’t been any GoFundMe or fundraiser planned, but if you’ve seen the El Taco Taco trailer, contact Eugene Police Department’s non-emergency line at 541-682-5111 or El Taco Taco directly at 541-206-7283.