By Gayathri Peringod, October 20 2019—
La Taqueria has permanently shut its doors.
The popular Students’ Union-run establishment located in the back corner of MacEwan Hall that served Latin-American cuisine has officially closed with no plans of re-opening, the vice-president operations and finance of the Students’ Union announced in a September SLC meeting.
The SU attributed their decision to the establishment being financially unsustainable.
“La Taqueria was pretty successful. Where it didn’t succeed, though, was financially,” explained Omer Mansoor, VP operations and finance of the SU. “As a result, our team went back to the drawing board to really examine how that space in MacHall can be best utilized for tenants.
“It’s ideal to have a tenant that can give us guaranteed revenue for the SU so that we can invest it into travel and conference funding and clubs funding, and a slew of different student programs that we have at the SU.”
Mansoor added, however, that many menu items from La Taqueria will still be available at the university via The Den and Black Lounge.
“We recognize that there was a really loyal following behind the kind of menu items that were available to La Taqueria,” Mansoor said. “We’re in the process of moving a lot of the menu items from La Taqueria right into The Den, so they’ll still be available, just in a different format.”
When asked about whether students were consulted in the process, Mansoor was reticent to go into much detail.
“The Operations-Finance committee made the decision to close La Taqueria over the summer,” Mansoor stated. “Myself and four other executives, as well as three faculty representatives, so eight elected student representatives. We really wanted to make sure that the tenant that we brought in had consumer-friendly pricing to cater towards the needs of students on campus.”
A new tenant has been found for the space, although the SU has not yet provided a name. However, the cuisine is expected to be a welcome addition to the existing range of food at MacHall.
“I can’t say who the new tenant is until we’ve finalized everything,” said Mansoor. “But it’s something that’s currently not available in MacHall. It’s pretty new and exciting.”
Mansoor attributed the financial unsustainability of La Taqueria to the space it inhabited in the building.
“I think one thing that really restricted La Taqueria — and this is true of any new tenant that’s going to go into the space — was that the space is really quite small. There’s virtually little to no prep space for food.
“We’re confident now with the new tenant that it will be more feasible and sustainable, since they don’t require as much space in terms of preparing their food.”
The new tenant is expected to officially open shop early in the winter semester.
Corrections: a previous version of this article misquoted the SU VP-OpFI as saying “myself and four other representatives” rather than “myself and four other executives”, and misstated that the new tenant would open shop on the first day of the winter semester when in fact the date is not set. The Gauntlet apologizes to the reader for these errors.