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Taqueriagate

as220

OMG y’all! Did you hear about the dust up between AS220 and Taqueria Pacifica? No? You been under a rock or something?

I first saw one of my friends post about it on Faceplace, then it showed up on Daily Dose and UrbanPlanet. Apparently there is a huge heated thread about it on Lots of Noise. I’m a little late in the game posting about this obviously, I was kind of waiting to see if I would hear more info, but everyone else is running with it, so I want to be cool too!

Someone on UrbanPlanet going by the name of gopher.maps was kind enough to transpose this from Lots of Noise:

Tyler (owner of Taqueria Pacifica):
here it is, the official story of just what is going on with the taqueria. Zander and bert filed eviction papers to evict taqueria pacifica and all it’s employees on the 18th. the rent was due by the 15th, but instead of just picking it up like they usually do — we share an address — they waited for us to slip and nailed us. it’s all up to the courts but the bottom line is they are railroading small business because we don’t go along with their agenda — whatever the heck that is. this was made apparently obvious when zander refused rent yesterday. they just want us gone. too subversive, i guess. those rebellious burritos. whatever. the tp will most likely rear it’s head again, either here or not. but thank you to everyone who has eaten our food and supported us. tenants of theirs should beware. you could be next. — more later. aloha–

Xander (manager of AS220):
Hi all-
Firstly, I’d like you all to know that I respect the discussion that is happening in this forum. I fully recognize that AS220 and the Taqueria are part of all of our shared community, and that this situation affects many people in it. Your desire for more information, as well as your investment in this process, is valid.

Of course, there is another side I could add to Tyler’s assessment of the situation. However, I don’t think its in anyone’s best interest to get into a flame war on LON. We are maintaining a civil conversation outside of the limelight as this situation progresses. Until the next steps are firmed up either through negotiations or through a court agreement, I can only offer the following:

It was mutually agreed that the relationship between AS220 and the Taqueria was not working. This was addressed with good faith by both sides. It became clear that both sides felt they had expressed a desire to renegotiate, reconcile, or end the relationship in the past, but somehow these desires were never totally clear to one another. They violated the terms of their lease, opening up an opportunity for us to bring the situation out of the standstill that it had been in. In terms of refusing their rent yesterday, that was a matter of protocol and was on instructions from our lawyer. We have told them that we are willing to negotiate to make the transition work for them and their employees, who are certainly not being disregarded or thought of lightly through this process, and AS220 has every intention of returning their security deposit.

We have no intention of expanding the bar. There will be some kind of food offering available, however, there are no specific plans for this at this time…We’re working on it though! (I have to admit to laughing aloud at all of the things that Reposludegoblin had read about going into the space on the daily dose – none of them are true)

I totally understand that this action has an effect on many people and on many aspects of this community, and that there will be a variety of responses and complicated feelings about the issue. I appreciate that many of you want to have a better understanding of the situation before making judgments, and appreciate your understanding that the situation is more complicated than a single blog thread can make clear.

*NOTE: I have no reason to believe these two people aren’t who they say they are, but it is the internet, so keep that in mind.*

So there you have it, he said, he she said. Doesn’t get any clearer than that does it?

To be honest for a second, and please don’t hit me, I’ve never really been a Taqueria fan. Not having enough information here to take sides, I’m not going to, but I wouldn’t be too broken up if AS220 brought someone else into that space. At the same time, it sucks for the Taqueria peeps to be out on their ear all of a sudden, especially the employees, who presumably are just along for the ride and are suffering because the people in charge seemingly can’t get along.

If the Taqueria still has their truck, or can get a truck, I wonder if a place could be made for them in the Kennedy Plaza area. The Plaza needs more food vendors, the Taqueria needs a new home… see something happening here..?


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18 Responses to Taqueriagate

  1. Tony P August 31, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    I wonder, could one get a mobile liquor license? That would be something else entirely but hey, I never really dug the food at Taqueria.

    The booze on the other hand, whose name is the liquor license in at that spot? Is it AS220 or TP? That changes everything.

    Providence Geeks and DC401 meetings just won’t be the same without beer.

  2. Jef Nickerson August 31, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    AS220 holds the liquor license. I haven’t been by, but as far as I know, the UFO is still flowing.

  3. Toad August 31, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    This is a shame, I love TP. It’s further away from me, but they should move to where Checkers used to be on benefit st.

  4. Jen Coleslaw August 31, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I loved the taco truck when it would roam, especially parked outside the decatur.

    BTW i do not think that the city would ever allow mobile liquor licenses.

  5. matthew lawrence August 31, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Two quick things that nobody seems to get:
    1. Xander’s name starts with an X.
    2. Xander is not a he.

    Besides that I have no opinions, aside from sadness and a premature longing for chipotle sour cream.

  6. Cody Thompson September 1, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    It will probably be another Cuban Revoltion, for some reason a few of AS220’s board members and managers thought it was OK to sneak Cuban’s staff behind our counter while we were away for vacation about 2 years ago.

    Yeah, we couldn’t beleive it either, thought all the phone calls were jokes.

    LONG LIVE BERT’S INFLATED EGO!!

  7. Jef Nickerson September 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    Fixed the spelling of Xander (at least on the non-quote portion) and the gender issue. I had a crush on a boy named Zander once, which may have led my spelling/gender assignments in a certain direction.

    As for any rumor about Cuban Revolution… Anyone who knows my dining habits knows that I for one would be very un-happy about such a move, and would spend far less time in AS220 than I already do would that come to pass.

  8. Tony P September 2, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    I’m getting a little more info on the info about this. Apparently TP employees are being very cliquey and it’s not going over well.

  9. Jen Coleslaw September 2, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    lotsofnoise has lotsofchatter on the subject but i don’t know how much of it is true, or valid.

  10. Former cuban-rev employee September 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    Just to dispel the Cuban Revolution/As220 rumor: I worked the night the Cuban-rev folks went behind the counter at the Taqueria. It was a Geek Dinner night; the Taqueria was on a vacation; As220 bar and event space was open; the Geek Dinner needed food on short notice; Cuban revolution was asked and agreed to serve. Being behind the counter seemed like the only option — no AS220 manager or board member told us to — we just needed to take orders, deliver food and accommodate the crowd. Get in, help out and get out was the mentality – there was no diabolical plan.

  11. Jef Nickerson September 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    But it is much more fun to speculate on diabolical plans.

  12. Former cuban-rev employee September 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Agreed. But vitriol tends to constipate the fun so maybe a few facts will get the speculation free-flowing again… (and away from the bland idea of the Cuban revolution being in As220).

  13. Jack September 3, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    Can someone post what’s being said on the lots of noise boards? I don’t feel like making a membership but I want to follow what’s going on.

  14. Jim September 3, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    I tried to read trough the Lots of Noise board on this and it was so full of trolling that it’s not even worth bothering. I don’t think many facts were being stated. In the 7 pages of “discussion” I think I read only 2 posts of “facts” (the ones that were copied in this post).

  15. Sallie September 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    Post removed by Jef Nickerson.

  16. Jef Nickerson September 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    I have received an official statement from AS220:

    AS220’s statement regarding Taqueria Pacifica:

    On August 21, Taqueria Pacifica was given legal notice that AS220 is terminating their lease at 115 Empire Street for violation of the lease agreement. Taqueria was 21 days late in paying their rent on the morning they were served legal notice.

    AS220 deeply regrets that legal action is necessary to end our relationship with Taqueria Pacifica. The business relationship – in which Taqueria leased space to run an independent food business inside AS220’s Empire Street cafe – was launched three and a half years ago with the very best intentions on both sides. We decided to pursue a legal end to the arrangement after much deliberation, and months after it became clear that the relationship had become irreconcilable for many reasons and that informal negotiations were not possible.

    AS220 appreciates that many people have questions about our situation with Taqueria Pacifica, and we regret that much which has been asserted as fact in the blogosphere is untrue. We have decided not to correct each erroneous statement point by point because we believe a public airing of contention will make legal settlement with Taqueria more difficult, and with faith that AS220’s track record in our community speaks for itself.

    Thank you for your continued support. If you have further concerns or questions please contact:

    Cheryl Kaminsky
    AS220 Communications Director
    cheryl@as220.org
    401-831-9327 (x116)

    So as not to further speculation and innuendo, I am closing comments on this post. Anyone who has further information they think is pertinent may email me, if I feel it is worthy of posting, I will do so.

  17. Jef Nickerson September 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    Not for Nuthin':

    Job Title: Restaurant Manager
    Organization: AS220
    Location: Providence
    Salary:
    Start Date:
    Full Time
    Permanent

    Job Description
    ——————————————-
    AS220 is a community of artists working in downtown Providence to provide open forums and opportunities for Rhode Island artists. We provide an alternative to the institutional venues and have gained national attention for our commitment to an “open and unjuried”, egalitarian approach to nurturing a creative community.

    The activities of AS2220 include (but are not limited to) nightly events in our performance space, monthly gallery exhibits, a number of annual events and festivals, The Broad Street Studio (BSS) center for youth arts workshops, and the on-going operation of several “cottage industries” such as The Darkroom, AS220 Labs, the Print Shop and Design Providence. AS220 owns and manages two 22,000 sq foot buildings in downtown Providence that house 26 artists and provide individual and collaborative work spaces, galleries and venues. Our tenants also include the Perishable Theatre and several commercial entities. AS220’s FY2010 operating budget is just over $1.3 million.

    AS220 aims to create an eatery that embraces the values of the organization and recognizes the outreach potential inherent in a mission aligned food program. The physical space consists of a 340 sq ft counter/kitchen area and a 1300 sq ft seating area. The space is built out with fixtures, however some equipment needs to be procured.

    Prospective candidates should spend some time on our web site, as220.org, before applying.

    The AS220 Restaurant Manager is responsible for starting up and running a profitable food service program that is in line with AS220’s mission, values, policies and practice. The Restaurant Manager works closely with the Bar Manager to create a unique space that celebrates food and drink as art and as a building block of community.

    Specific responsibilities fall into the following areas:

    Menu Design
    .vegetarian and vegan-friendly
    .affordable with some very affordable items
    .family friendly
    .use of local products
    .no use of fryolator
    .ideally breakfast, lunch & dinner

    Hiring and Staff Management
    .Work with AS220 management to hire, manage and train part time restaurant
    staff
    .Work with BSS to create and manage a food service training/mentorship
    program for 2 rotating BSS youth

    General Management
    .Daily reconciliations
    .Work with bar manager on bank deposits
    .Ordering and inventory maintenance
    .Equipment procurement and maintenance

    Special Events
    Work with AS220 Program and Gallery director to enhance special programing with special food offerings. Program & organize periodic special events (guest chefs, theme nights, cook-offs etc)

    The Ideal candidate will: Have restaurant management experience. Demonstrate a capacity to lead, collaborate, motivate and inspire .Be able to articulate a passionate understanding of the AS220 mission

    Compensation: AS220 has an “equal pay” policy; all full time staff (including the Artistic Director and the Managing Director) are paid a $33,280 salary per year and receive full health benefits with no employee cost share. Vacation time is offered, along with opportunities for education, and professional development.

    How to Apply
    ——————————————-
    Please send a resume and cover letter to:
    AS220
    attn: jobs
    95 Mathewson St.
    Providence, RI 02909
    jobs@as220.org

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