Gringo de Loco's official explanation for their sudden closure.
Gringo de Loco's official explanation for their sudden closure.

For those that haven’t read it on the Spew, or on Kevin’s blog, Gringo de Loco – the “blues-inspired” Mexican restaurant on Pacific Avenue – is closing.

Honestly, it doesn’t really surprise me…I’ve been watching the number of unread Stranger copies I have to carry back to the delivery van increase more and more (for those who don’t know, I assist a man named Christian in delivering a free publication called The Stranger around Tacoma – related video blogs here and here). The statement on the site is correct – the old management may have had a small draw, but it got smaller. Under the old management, they’d go through about a bundle (25 copies) of The Stranger every week. When the old managers vanished, I was carrying most of that bundle back to the van every week. We cut them down to 15 copies a few weeks back, and I was still carrying most of it back.

It is kind of sad, given the circumstances. Not only did the new owners take on management of a Titanic-esque situation, but they found themselves between a rock and a hard place in terms of customers. They seemed to be having a hard time drawing new customers – possibly because many people still saw it as they did upon first entering La Costa: a dump. A new paint job and new signage on the front, unfortunately, doesn’t make enough people look at a spot without thinking of what used to be there. In the meantime, though, their changes made the existing customer base pretty much vanish.

I think they may have fared at least a little better, even in spite of the sinking ship they took on, if there had been more of an obvious switch-over. As it was, delivering there every week, it never felt like, “Okay, La Costa has closed and this new place is here.” It just felt like, “Eh, the sign changed. Whatever.” I was in the premises every single week, and I never felt tempted by the changes to give it a chance – and I’m a guy who’s tempted by a lot of the places I stop at.

I regularly eat at a number of places I deliver to because I liked the feel, the smell and the people during my brief moments inside. And I have to confess, I was more tempted by the people (though not the feel or the smell) of La Costa’s old regime than Gringo de Loco. I always had a warm, friendly greeting from them, even though I wasn’t there to eat. After the management switch (and, admittedly, the moving of the free publication racks to a crappy place under a counter where they were harder to see) I no longer felt like I should give the place a try due to the friendly nature of the people running it. I’m sure the new management was friendly, too…but I never met them.

I didn’t feel, to me, like a new place…but it didn’t feel like the old place, either. In light of that, they never really had a chance.

Writer. Actor. Director. Chalk artist. YouTuber. Nerdfighter. Traveler. Pansexual. Genderfluid. Millennial. Socialist. Living a complex life beyond those words.

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