Dining With Denise Neil

Times are hard for Mexican restaurants on Wichita’s South Seneca

Gaga’s Grub Lil Taco Joint at 1227 S. Seneca closed on Saturday.
Gaga’s Grub Lil Taco Joint at 1227 S. Seneca closed on Saturday.

It’s been a rough few months for Mexican restaurants that opened this summer on South Seneca.

Two of them have closed after only a few months in business.

One is La Tia Cafe, which Laura and Pablo Camargo opened in June in the former Breakfast Club space at 1002 S. Seneca. The restaurant has been closed for several weeks, the building is now vacant, the phone is disconnected, and all the signage is gone. The restaurant served homemade Mexican food at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Just .2 miles to the south, Gaga’s Grub also has closed its free-standing restaurant. Dustin Presley, who relocated his food trucks to Wichita from Oklahoma last summer, closed his Gaga’s Grub Lil Taco Joint at 1227 S. Seneca on Saturday.

The foot traffic just wasn’t there, he said.

Presley recently sold his second food truck to Songbird Juice Company’s Marty Spence, who turned it into a shop-on-wheels for her juice, and now, he’s focusing his attention on his remaining Gaga’s Grub taco truck.

“I'm just going to run the truck for the season and just kind of focus on that for the next few months and see what the spring of next year brings,” he said.

Presley, who updates his truck’s schedule on its Facebook page, has a deal with Big Fish Bail Bonds at 705 N. Broadway to offer customers a free taco every Tuesday. To qualify, customers have to share this post on their Facebook pages. The truck will be there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and every Tuesday.

He also recently redecorated his truck to reflect his playful sense of humor.

The truck now reads, in huge red lettering, “Ugliest Taco Truck in Wichita.”

“In my opinion, it is the ugliest taco truck out there,” he said with a laugh. “So I decided I would just throw it on there.”