Dining With Denise Neil

Garcia’s Tacos closing after two decades

Garcia’s Tacos at 2138 N. Market will close for good at the end of business on May 31.
Garcia’s Tacos at 2138 N. Market will close for good at the end of business on May 31. The Wichita Eagle

Jose Garcia is retiring from the restaurant business and has decided that May 31 will be the last day for his Garcia’s Tacos, 2138 N. Market.

Garcia, 62, has been running the restaurant since around 1992, when he converted the small Mexican grocery store he opened in the same spot in the early 1980s into a restaurant specializing in authentic tacos made with fresh meats procured from a butcher, said his son Jorge Garcia, who grew up in the restaurant with his three siblings.

His father works constantly, Jorge said, and now, he wants to spend time with his grandkids.

“It's been tough,” he said. “The restaurant business is very difficult. He’s there before 6 a.m. Early on, for 15 years, he would open at 9 a.m., do all the prep work and finish his day about 7 or 8. He has really long days, even now that he’s cut back his schedule a little bit.”

Jose Garcia came to America from Mexico with his father when he was 15. His family originally settled in Chicago, where he and his father worked in manufacturing. But as he got older and started a family, Jose got tired of the “layoff cycle” in manufacturing and decided to relocate his family to Wichita, where a relative lived.

Business at the restaurant has always been steady, Jorge Garcia said, and its longtime customers are as sad as the family is that it’s closing. Jose Garcia might try to sell the business or just sell the building and its contents, Jorge said.

“He has a very loyal following, and I wanted to share his story,” Jorge said. “It’s a great story of taking a chance and living the American dream.”

Garcia’s Tacos will be open until its final day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, when it’s closed. For more information, call 316-269-1164.