The Vancouver location of The Original Taco House closed its doors for good Sunday. Owner Nate Waddle said the restaurant simply lacked business.
“As pretty a little place as that was, it just didn’t do the business we’d hoped,” Waddle said Monday. “I think it’s kind of a tough location. The previous owners ran into the same thing. … Comment cards and all that stuff were good, just not enough customers.”
Waddle and his brother took over the restaurant at 10820 N.E. Coxley Drive from Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant & Lounge in 2011. Cisco’s owners told The Columbian at the time that they hoped to pursue other interests.
Waddle, who grew up in Vancouver, said he hoped the location would thrive. It did at first, but by the end the restaurant was doing about half as much business as they expected, he said.
“No matter what, it’s sad,” Waddle said. “Nobody likes to fail. We put a lot of money in the place.”
The Original Taco House, which was founded in 1960 by Waddle’s father and grandfather, has two other restaurants and a commissary, Annex Food Co., in Portland. The commissary provides food to restaurants and other food serving locations such as Providence Park, Portland Public Schools and the University of Oregon. The entire operation earns close to $4 million annually, Waddle said.
Twenty employees worked at the 4,200-square-foot Vancouver restaurant. Many were offered jobs at the two Portland locations, Waddle said, but he was unsure if they would make the switch.
The company will continue to pay about $5,000 a month for the building for the rest of the year.
“We’re just going to get through the end of the year and really take a look at where we want to go,” Waddle said.
He said he was not opposed to looking at other Vancouver locations in the future.