After nine years in Dallas’ Design District, Taco Stop is permanently closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I like what I do and I think it’s a good service that provides, you know, a lot of comfort to a lot of people, but there’s a point where you can’t keep maintaining something that, you know, is not financially feasible,” said owner Emelie Flores.
Flores opened the taqueria in 2012.
She prided herself on drawing a loyal customer following from all walks of life, but she was probably best known for the winter coats left for the taking placed in front of her restaurant each winter.
Those first popped up in 2016 with a sign letting those who were cold know they could take one while asking those who wanted to help to leave one behind.
“I think that we all need a reminder that kindness doesn’t cost anything, and there’s little things that one can do that can actually remind people that there are things to do for each other. It doesn’t matter your nationality, your color, your religious orientation, your sexual orientation, we’re just humans. And if we don’t take care of each other, who will?” said Flores.
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It’s an idea she carried with her through her toughest days as a restaurant owner.
After closing in March, Flores said she reopened to just one-third of the business she’d had before.
Even so, each week she and her employees made between 100 and 200 tacos for healthcare workers on the front lines.
“I tried to make do with what I had. You know, if I was open, I was able to help some and keep ourselves busy in a difficult time,” said Flores.
But after almost six months of not breaking even, Flores said it was time to call it quits.
In a neighborhood filled with non-essential business, she said there simply wasn't enough traffic to support a walk-up restaurant.
Saturday, she locked the doors for the final time.
There’s no doubt she’s sad to see this chapter, nearly a decade in the making, come to an end.
Still Flores, who was already in her second act following a career as a psychologist, is already looking ahead to what her next opportunity might be.
“Things have a beginning and an end,” said Flores.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.