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Mexico Blvd. Truck Closes Citing 'Insupportable' System for Street Vendors

 Popular food truck Mexico Blvd. served its last tacos on Friday.
Popular food truck Mexico Blvd. served its last tacos on Friday.
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ASTORIA — Popular food truck Mexico Blvd. served its last tacos on Friday, halting operations after four years due to what its owner described as the city's "insupportable" system for regulating street vendors.

Jordi Loaeza, who started Mexico Blvd. with parents Marlene Guinchard and Jorge Loaeza, said running the truck had become a burden for a myriad of reasons, including frequent tickets and a scarcity of valid street cart permits.

"All the regulations around the mobile food industry is just — it's very complicated," he said. "It was a good business. It's sad for us to close it."

Mexico Blvd. gained a legion of fans over the years, parking at its main location in midtown on 46th Street and 6th Avenue as well as in DUMBO and on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria.

Business was so good that the family opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Astoria last year called Chela & Garnacha, serving their popular tacos and other Mexican dishes.

But while Loaeza said the truck continued to do well, the family was unable to get a new street vendor permit after their previous one expired.

In an announcement on the Mexico Blvd. website, the owners blamed the closure in part on the city's "broken permitting system," and linked to a video by advocacy group the Street Vendor Project about the scarcity of available vendor permits.

The group — and some elected officials — have been pushing for the City Council to raise the cap on the number of permits available for street vendors. There are currently only about 3,000, making it difficult for businesses to obtain one and forcing some vendors to purchase theirs on the black market instead.

"It's just very sketchy," Loaeza explained.

In addition to their inability to get a new permit, he said they were plagued by other headaches that are common in the mobile business, like frequent parking tickets and an overall lack of uniform laws that oversee vendors.

"The city is very disorganized," he said. "There's no regulation or no updated laws."

News of the truck's closing spurred an outpouring of heartbroken fans on Twitter.

"You can put me in bumper-to-bumper traffic and up my rent, but New York, you cannot take away my taco truck," one fan tweeted.

"I feel like I just got dumped," another wrote.

Loaeza said customers can still get their taco fix by visiting Chela & Garnacha in Astoria, where the family is now focusing their full attention — and most of their staffers — now that the truck is closed.

But shuttering the truck is still a loss, as Loaeza estimates it made up about half of their business.

"It is detrimental to us," he said. "The truck was a great business, and we had a lot of great relationships with our customers."