Some places are doomed to fail. You know the places I’m talking about. A new restaurant opens up, and by the time you got there to try it out it’s out of business. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. In the restaurant business this is called a ‘location curse.’ These are often buildings with no apparent impediments to traffic, and they can kill businesses that have proven business models and excellent food.
Running a restaurant is no easy business. While it may not be as bad as people expect, according to a data-rich study by the National Restaurant Association of Dallas restaurants, 23% of restaurants fail within the first year. By the second that number jumps to 37%, and by the third year it’s 44%. Bear in mind this is in Dallas, which spends more per-capita on dining out than almost any other city in the US. Dallas is a city with a thriving economy. Corpus Christi, though showing signs of improvement, was dealt an economic disability when the bottom fell out of the domestic oil market. We’ve got the Eagle Ford Shale now, but it has yet to transform the spending habits of most Corpitos. We hold on to our money, or spend it on trucks, or support family who have no means to support themselves. Our money is less disposable than you’d think. When you break down the numbers, adjusted for the cost of living, and compare Dallas to Corpus Christi you’re led to believe we’re in comparable financial situations, but you wouldn’t know it to live here. While Dallas restaurants are packed with people spending money, Corpus Christi has many excellent taquerias that serve food that is artificially underpriced in order to survive in such a competitive market. The bottom line is this: it’s hard to make it as a restaurant in Corpus Christi. You’ve got to be better than the next guy, and your margins have to be razor thin.
If you add to that a location curse, you’ve got to be a really special restaurant to make it. Taqueria Tierra Caliente is not that special. It’s in a location that’s housed two other taquerias I’ve reviewed that have since failed. I was hoping when my wife and I pulled up to the grand opening sign we’d be treated to some hope for the curse to be broken, but instead we were treated to disappointment. The coffee was burnt, the chorizo was undercooked, and the carne guisada was some of the toughest I’ve had. It wasn’t all bad: the tortillas (both flour and corn) were both excellent, as were both the salsas. The green really kicked me in the ass. The server was friendly too. When I checked for the address on google, it gave me the intersection of Baldwin and Ayers, so I can only conclude this restaurant has moved from one doomed location to another. I wish these guys the best of luck, but If you’re looking for a good taco in this neighborhood, you’d be better off trying Chacho’s or even La Ribera.
Our Taco Award Winner for this week is:
You know her as Elvira, and like the undead she refuses to die. First appearing in 1981, Elvira is as much a touchstone of the horror genre as anyone, living or dead (or both). She’s been on television, in movies, commercials, comic books, calendars, posters, records, and lunch boxes. You name it, she’s put her ample cleavage and campy quips on it. She was MS3TK before MS3TK. She was also the stripper on the cover of Tom Waits‘ Small Change. I used to watch her every week when I was 12. I’m old now, but she is as sexy as she ever was, at 61 in the photo here. I’d eat flies just to watch over her coffin at night.
Offer includes 2 tacos, an audience with the ‘tacoteurs,’ and a free tacotopia t-shirt. Please redeem this offer at Whetstone Graphics on a Friday morning of your choice. Offer subject to cancellation by order of the wives of the tacoteurs. Enter to win by emailing your name on the ADAM 1976 pinup calendar to firstname.lastname@example.org.