DINER: New “La Taqueria” Held Hostage On Commercial By Missing Electrical Upgrade

January 23, 2013.

You may have already heard that the La Taqueria crew are opening another location. This time around we can expect an old school Mexican diner and Oaxacan-style Mezcaleria featuring everything from tostadas and enchilidas to cold beer and hard-to-find find Mezcals (consulting chef Tina Fineza is doing the menu). It’s going into the old Wazubees location on The Drive, a lovely old spot with garage frontage, high ceilings, and lots of natural light (much of which is provided by a huge skylight). It’s been near completion for a while now, and by that I mean the kitchen is installed, the floor has been laid with imported gorgeous Guadalajara green tiles and the 55 seats (including 35 at the lengthy bar) are ready for their first bums. “Once we get the electricity we need,” co-owner Marcelo Romero says with a shrug, “we should be ready in 15 days.”

And therein lies the trouble. The space has insufficient electricity, and they’ve been waiting to have it upgraded for nearly nine months. Romero claims – with no small amount of frustration in his voice – that his phone calls to City Hall and BC Hydro aren’t being returned. “The Mayor, he loves our tacos. Maybe I have to go knock on his door? I don’t know.” As it stands today (when these pictures were taken), Romero and his partners don’t even have a clue as to when they’ll get their electrical insufficiency sorted, and while they’re grateful that they have an understanding landlord (they aren’t paying full rent at the moment), the cost is nevertheless crippling since there’s absolutely no revenue coming in.

So if any one of our readers has the ear of the right person at City Hall and/or BC Hydro, we kindly ask they they do every food lover on The Drive a solid by asking him/her to follow up for Romero et al. For reference, the would-be restaurant’s address is 1622 Commercial Drive, and the company is called La Taqueria. These guys are keen to get cooking (dinner only, until 1am), but since they can’t even flip a switch yet, opening day remains a total mystery.

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  • La Taqueria | co-owner Marcelo Ramirez, designer Raneen Nosh, manager Ignacio Arrieta
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ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

  • chungbot

    Im excited. I live nearby and the drive sucks for food. My taco intake will increase 400 fold.

  • Hungry Foodie

    What’s the current issue with power? Do they need an larger panel with more amps? Do they have their own panel or is it a sub panel feed from the main building panel? If you have an electrician on the job he/she should be able to pull a license from the city, call hydro to do the shutdown, do the swap over and reconnect in a matter of days. Need way more info. I might be able to assist but don’t want to promise anything quite yet.

  • CB

    Agree with Hungry Foodie. It was the obvious point to make in your article. Why is there a problem or at least what were they told? There has to be some sort of basic explanation of code, pulling 3 phase in or whatever it is.

    Usually a long permit wait is based on original work being done without the appropriate permissions and as a sort of punishment things take a lot longer. The old Pinky’s location on W. 4th (now Romers) comes to mind.

  • Scout Magazine

    It’s not a permit wait. The electrical capacity of the place is insufficient. I know of at least one restaurant operator who balked at the address when his engineer said no way on account of this, so perhaps Ramirez et al were told something different.

  • Jen

    Great looking place.

    Do they need a new connection to Hydro to accommodate their new larger panel? We waited three months after the permit was pulled, in a similar situation, because BC Hydro has such a long wait list. I started calling them every day after one months’ wait. In all it took three months to get their truck here in to connect to our new (ready and waiting) system. When their big van arrived it took one hour to complete the work.

  • Chumley

    This is good/bad news. Bad: they’re being boned by the man. Good: food on Commercial sucks and this and Merchant’s are welcome additions.

  • Nick

    Probably need a new transformer. There are private companies out there that can do it also.

  • Emile Att

    Build wind turbine and solar panels on roof. Problem solved.

  • Emile Att

    But seriously, I wish them a speedy resolution to the problem and a quick opening. I’ve been looking forward to it for months.
    Such a shame that the City and BC Hydro operate like this. We hear far too many stories like this. If there’s a restaurateur who has found the City to be easy and helpful, I’ve yet to meet them.

  • http://yourwayhomes.ca Liam

    I SERIOUSLY cannot wait for this spot to friggin open. I know they will have my business. These guys are some of my fav restaurateurs in the city and I wish them nothing but the best of luck.

    Also, food on the Drive sucks?

  • Robert

    Jen, you are spot on, They have done all the electrical work inside their space that they can, they are waiting for B.C. Hydro to connect the 3 phase power to the building. B.C. Hydro has been paid in advance for their part of the work. Keep your fingers crossed

  • David Raun

    Think what happened was then the owners of the building re subdivided the two storefronts after Wazzubees left ( a Wine seller took the other half that has the main power buss ) This address didn’t get listed in the BC hydro supply upgrade waitline for exterior power supply. So now it’s on the waiting list as it now has tenants. Which would explain why the Landlord is giving them a break on the rent.

  • http://www.buycheese.com jchaput

    Ditto with Jen. We were a few weeks away once the power was switched over. However, it took 3 months waiting for our turn at bat to get that work done.

  • Scout Magazine

    Ugh. Our bad for screwing up Marcelo’s last name. It’s Romero, not Ramirez. Apologies.

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