Sunday, December 10, 2023

After closing dance studio, entrepreneur turns to Covid-themed tacos

Viral-flavored tacos don’t sound very appetizing but a 23-year-old man who closed his dance studio due to the coronavirus pandemic and repurposed it as a Covid-themed restaurant has made them a popular meal in León, Guanajuato.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería, or taco restaurant, at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral (Tacovid Viral Flavor).

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place,” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I’d always wanted to open a taquería and at the end of July the opportunity came up to do it. … I took advantage of the moment to establish this coronavirus-themed business.”

Velázquez said that all of the dishes on the menu have Covid-themed names.

Tacovid's menu and the waitress cum nurse.
Tacovid’s menu and the waitress cum nurse.

Among them: tacovid – steak, chorizo, chuleta (pork chop) or chicken tacos; pandemia, a mega-torta ( large sandwich) with steak, chorizo and cheese; cuarentorta (a play on the Spanish word for quarantine), a regular sized torta; and quesanitizante (a portmanteu of queso – cheese, and sanitizante – sanitizer), a quesadilla stuffed with meat.

There are also dishes called brote (outbreak), cubrebocas (face mask), OMMMMS (a play on the Spanish-language acronym for the World Health Organization), la cura (the cure), la vacuna (the vaccine), la peste (the plague) and asintomático (asymptomatic).

The Covid theme doesn’t end there – a waitress dressed as a nurse who goes by the name of “Susana” takes customers’ orders.

The waitress’s mock name comes from Susana Distancia (Your Healthy Distance), a cartoon superheroine created by the federal government to promote its social distancing initiative.

Velázquez said that sales have been good despite the pandemic and that diners enjoy its Covid theme.

“I’m surprised because we’ve had very good sales despite the circumstances,” he said, adding that his business has done so well that he opened up a second branch.

A cheeky ad — ‘Dr. Gatell, I love my curve’ — is a play on the many times Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell has announced a decline in the curve indicating the number of Covid cases.

“The customers think that the theme we’re using is funny and they’re delighted with the dishes we’re serving.”

Velázquez said he hopes to add new Covid-themed dishes to the menu and even franchise his business model and name to other would-be taquería owners.

As for his dormant dance studio, the young entrepreneur said he planned to reopen it and operate it concurrently with his popular taco restaurant, which like its offerings has gone viral (online).

“I plan to continue with the dance academy and the food business because I have the time I need to attend to both. A lot of the time we make up excuses due to the fear of failure but we should be more afraid of not trying something [we want to do] because life goes by in a flash.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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