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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Edgewater Tacos Asks Neighbors For Help To Stay Open, Pay Staff During Coronavirus Outbreak

"I don't see myself surviving if this lasts the year," Edgewater Taco's owner said. "I have to remind myself, it's not something I did."

Edgewater Tacos is seeking help for its employees during the coronavirus outbreak.
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EDGEWATER — Edgewater Tacos celebrated its second anniversary in early March. Two weeks later, the family-run restaurant had to figure out a way to operate under new stay-at-home rules and other measures meant to contain the coronavirus.

It hasn’t been easy, and now the brother-sister duo who own Edgewater Tacos is asking their neighbors for help keeping their dream business alive and its employees on the payroll.

Joe and Patty Guerrero, second-generation Edgewater restaurant owners, opened Edgewater Tacos, 5624 N. Broadway, two years ago. To get through this hard time, they’ve launched a GoFundMe to help pay the restaurant’s seven employees for as long as possible. As of Thursday morning, they’ve raised $1,100 of their $25,000 goal.

“It’s been an emotional two weeks,” Patty said. “The sense of love, gratitude and support we’ve received from everyone, it’s overwhelming. I’m so glad I opened in Edgewater.”

Their father owned Durango Mexican Restaurant at 1130 W. Thorndale Ave., which closed in the ’80s. The Guerreros still live in their Magnolia Avenue home, which has been in the family for over 60 years.

So when Patty and Joe decided to shift careers and continue their family’s restaurant legacy, they didn’t look to open anywhere but Edgewater.

“It had to be in Edgewater,” Patty said. “I have my heart rooted here, so why not have it in my home?”

The restaurant’s two-year anniversary was a celebration of their hard work and sacrifice, Patty said. But efforts to thwart the spread of the coronavirus have left the business in a precarious spot.

Credit: Facebook/Edgewater Tacos
Edgewater Tacos is seeking help for its employees during the coronavirus outbreak.

The business is viable and has garnered a following, but a rainy day fund has not yet been accrued, Patty said. The brother and sister have worked to start a payroll fund, but escalating costs to operate the business have eaten away at the funds.

“We’re so new to this. I haven’t had time to grow my savings fund,” Patty said. “I have to reassure my staff that I’m not cutting back. The pressure is on.”

Restaurants and other hospitality business across the city are left reeling by stay at home order and mandatory dining room closures, meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Edgewater Tacos has made use of it’s to-go window to offer take-out and curbside pick-up, but the business plan is likely not sustainable, Patty said.

“I don’t see myself surviving if this lasts the year,” Patty said of the virus concerns. “I have to remind myself, it’s not something I did. It’s hurt everyone.”

Edgewater residents have already rallied to the business. Patty said on one of the first days after the dining room ban, a local couple came in and asked if the family needed help meeting their rent.

“I was blown away,” Patty said. “The whole day, I was off kilter. The generosity is incredible.”

To give to Edgewater Taco’s fundraiser, click here.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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