GOGOS TACOS CITES HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT AND LACK OF RESPONSE FROM CITY OFFICIALS FOR SUDDEN CLOSURE

Casual Mexican restaurant Gogos Tacos in Rampart Village closed on June 28, 2024, with owner Brittney Valles citing safety issues in the surrounding neighborhood and the lack of response by city officials as the reasons for the closure. Stationed where Silver Lake, Virgil Village, Rampart Village, Historic Filipinotown, and Koreatown converge on Beverly Boulevard, Gogos Tacos operated adjacent to a large unhoused encampment for much of its three-year run.

“After almost three years at this buzzy corner, we are closing our retail operations. Unfortunately, the increasing safety issues with the transient community in the area have made it impossible for us to keep our staff safe,” Valles wrote in a June 27 Instagram post announcing the restaurant’s closure. Valles plans to continue operating the catering arm of Gogos Tacos.

Valles, who co-owns and operates Downtown’s Guerilla’s Tacos, shared emails addressed to city officials with Eater. In an October 2023 message to Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s office, Valles wrote: “I am particularly concerned about the amount of violent and aggressive individuals that regularly hang around the restaurant. We have had guests tell us outright that they do not feel comfortable coming by. We are really hanging on by a thread and are actively looking to move because the neighborhood is just so difficult.” Valles had already made plans to close the restaurant when she recently received a response from the Mayor’s office; Valles did not provide Eater with the office’s response.

Los Angeles has the second-largest unhoused population in the United States, and Mayor Bass campaigned on a platform to address the crisis. Two years after being elected into office, Bass launched a program called Inside Safe to provide unhoused people with mental health and substance abuse counseling and permanent housing. LA Public Press reports that the program recently came under fire after a community audit by mutual aid groups found that the $341 million program placed only 2.5 percent of participants into permanent supportive housing.

Eater contacted Los Angeles City Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez, who presides over District 13 where Gogos Tacos was located. A representative for District 13 provided the following statement:

“Residents and small businesses deserve safe neighborhoods so they can thrive, and workers shouldn’t feel like they’re putting themselves in danger when they’re going to work. These locations are a priority for our office and they receive regular cleanings from the Department of Sanitation. We still have a long way to go, but through urgent measures like mental health/addiction treatment and opening a new 52 bed interim housing site in East Hollywood, we are finding solutions that can turn things around for our communities — decreasing unsheltered homelessness by double digits last year.”

Gogos Tacos opened in September 2021 in the former Tacos Mexico space as a fast-casual restaurant with bright pink and retro design details. Valles created Gogos to offer the bustling, car-heavy corridor with a familiar menu that appealed to commuters any time of day.

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2024-07-09T21:13:38Z dg43tfdfdgfd