Taco Street Responds to Point Ruston, Farmers’ Market Dispute

Taco Street, the Waterfront Market restaurant at the center of a mix of Mexican cuisine with Point Ruston and the Tacoma Farmers Market, released a response to the three-day controversy on Tuesday.

The restaurant, owned and operated by Elonka and Martin Perez, posted a statement on Facebook and Instagram just after 6 p.m.

He was speaking directly to the two farmers’ market vendors affected by a directive issued by the Point Ruston Owners Association, which denied them the ability to serve their “Mexican-style food” on Sundays in the Grand Plaza. A firestorm erupted Sunday morning when Tacoma Farmers Market shared the news on its social media pages, stressing that it “had no part in this decision and directive” but that it “must comply while trying to reach a mutual agreement with PROA”.

Taco Street’s post did not address the exclusivity contract that Point Ruston developer Loren Cohen said existed in a Facebook post on his personal page and in comments on the development’s official Facebook page.

This contract, according to Cohen, gives Taco Street “the exclusive right to provide Mexican-style cuisine as the primary genre of food at Point Ruston. Another restaurant might “have tacos, etc. complementary to their main genre,” he said.

Perez did not respond to several requests for additional comment, including by phone, email and social media posts.

Tacoma Farmers Market executive director Britt McGrath said she could not yet comment after Taco Street’s statement on Tuesday night.

“We understand that the Point Ruston Owners Association acted out of concern for the impact competing businesses would have on our restaurant,” the Taco Street message read. “While we appreciate this concern for our business, we have let the Point Ruston Owners Association know that we are welcoming El Guero and Burrito Boy to the Tacoma Farmers Market.”

The post, signed by “Perez Family – Taco Street,” also mentions various events the owners have planned at the Waterfront Market at 5101 Yacht Club Road in Ruston. They include Dia de los Muertos and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.

“We are a family business, a Latin American community organizer and a Mexican small business owner,” they wrote. “We have always embraced our Latino community and have [welcomed] other small businesses in Point Ruston…”

The waterfront market was originally part of the large Point Ruston scheme, but after the Cohen-led operation failed to pay the contractors, a court ordered that it – and the parking lot below – be auctioned. Serpanok Construction owns the land on which these buildings are located and has been operating the parking lot and the market since last summer.

Attempts by the News Tribune to reach Cohen by phone and text have yet to be answered.

This story was originally published July 26, 2022 8:06 p.m.

Kristine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019, after a decade in Chicago where she worked for restaurants, a liquor wholesaler and a food bookstore. Previously, she covered the food sector for Industry Dive and William Reed. Find her on Instagram @kcsherred and Twitter @kriscarasher.
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