LETTER TO THE EDITOR — Adios, Taco Bueno. Why did they shut down? 

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Port Arthur Taco Bueno, part of a Dallas, Texas-based fast-food chain, closed–for good–at the end of May. It opened last October. Eight months and they threw in the toalla.

Why did this happen?

Just recently, I was leaving CVS, which is just across the parking lot from the now-defunct Taco Bueno. I saw a car pull in and park in front of Taco Bueno. It was an older couple.

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I decided to drive over and see if they knew that the place had closed. I spoke to them; they did not know that TB had shut down. We talked a little, and I found out that they had similar feelings to me: The food had been good, but the service had been bad.

While I was talking to the couple, a small sedan pulled into a parking space. The man inside the car was also unaware that the eatery was now closed. He, too, had liked the food, but had been disappointed by the service.

It is a shame that Taco Bueno closed. The food was very good, except for when it was not prepared correctly. Sometimes the churros were overcooked and at least half the time the strawberry-hibiscus agua fresca was watered-down.

For the most part, though, the items served were muy delicioso.

Their first manager was rude, to the point of being hostile. I visited Taco Bueno on their second day of being open. I was excited…I had been waiting for them to open for a few months.

The place was crowded. But I was not made to feel welcome. Not. At. All. She was the same way on my second visit. After a couple of weeks the place was never crowded again.

In fact, after about three weeks, I rarely saw more than two or three customers inside, besides myself. Sometimes I was the only customer.

The assistant manager was not rude, but he was indifferent. And inept. A month after opening I asked him if he ever drank the strawberry-hibiscus agua fresca. He told me no. I then asked, “Do you ever taste it?” He said he did not.

I then told him that it tasted very good the first couple of weeks, but after that it had been very weak. He told me that was because when the young people working there would see the dispenser get low, they would just add water, but no mix.

So why had he not done something about the problem? Some months later a new manager and assistant manager team came in, but they were not much better, and, apparently, it was too little, too late.

I put the primary blame for this fiasco on Taco Bueno Corporate. Why didn’t they make sure there was skillful management, with competent crews working?

TB is based in Dallas–not that far away. When did they realize that the place was tanking?  Did they try to remediate the place?  Did they try to find ways to improve?

The main reason for failure was Taco Bueno Corporate. But I am wondering about Port Arthur civic leaders. Did the mayor or city manager show any interest in this eatery?

Did any city council members visit?

Could they have seen problems and then helped to get them rectified?

Have any Port Arthur civic leaders contacted Taco Bueno to say, “Hey, what happened?

Is it too late to try again?

The building is still there, ready-to-go!”

This could have been a very nice fast-food eatery for residents of Port Arthur and surrounding communities. It had some items that Taco Bell does not serve, such as fish tacos, aguas frescas, and churros.

It generated taxes for the city, and it provided employment.  The building was tastefully colorful with an upbeat design–both outside and inside.

For eight months I was in Taco Bueno at least once a week, at various times of the day and evening. I never saw the mayor or any other Port Arthur civic leader in the place.

Okay, maybe they visited but I missed them. In any case, can they do something now?  Can they make a call, at the very least?

— D.L  Ross is a Port Arthur resident