- Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas Morning News

Taco Diner closed in Dallas’ West Village on Sept. 1, 2021, after 20 years in operation.

CEO Edgar Guevara announced in late July that Taco Diner’s sibling restaurant and West Village neighbor, Mi Cocina, will also close. But Mi Cocina will relocate a few blocks south on McKinney Avenue, and Taco Diner will not.

That leaves just one Taco Diner, in Lake Highlands, after five Taco Diners in North Texas closed between late 2019 and early 2021.

The Lake Highlands restaurant, which opened in May 2018, will remain open, Guevara says. CultureMap reported the Taco Diner closure in Uptown first.

Guevara says the company is focused on Mi Cocina and that his team plans to devote more time to the Taco Diner brand in 2022, after two high-profile Mi Cocinas open: in Klyde Warren Park and at the new Uptown Dallas address.

Employees from Taco Diner will be offered jobs at the new Mi Cocinas nearby.

“We haven’t given up on the brand,” Guevara says of Taco Diner. It needs a new strategy, however. That starts with a menu change at the Lake Highlands restaurant within the next six weeks.

“I think what happened with Taco Diner is it went through multiple transformations along its life cycle,” Guevara says. He’s been CEO for four years, and many of those transformations happened before he arrived.

“We tried to address gaps that needed to change, one at a time — instead of stepping back and saying, ‘What is this concept and what do we want to do with it?’ ”

Taco Diner is a Mexico City-style taqueria. It also serves Mambo Taxis, the frozen margarita-sangria swirl made famous by Mi Cocina. Taco Diner served sit-down tacos in Dallas before the taco takeover took off. At the time, a 2001 Dallas Morning News article noted that Taco Diner took the humble taco and spun it upscale: This was a place where customers could get authentic tacos in a beautiful, new Dallas development. They even took credit cards, the 2001 article noted.

A lot has changed in 20 years.

“Now the taco space is flooded,” Guevara says.

Interestingly, Taco Diner’s double cheeseburger is one of the most popular items. Sensing an opportunity for synergy, Guevara’s team will sell that cheeseburger at the new Mi Cocina at Klyde Warren Park — on the back side of the building on a patio and grab-and-go area called La Parada.

Beyond the cheeseburger, La Parada will sell avocado brisket grilled cheese sandwiches, taquitos, frozen drinks for kids and alcohol for adults. For anyone who remembers the former kiosk named Relish, La Parada is in that area — but it can accommodate more people and is positioned to feel like its own side concept.

“It’s kind of become an incubator for us,” Guevara said in an interview with The News in August 2021.

At La Parada, the team will test out new menu items that might land at Mi Cocina. It’ll also be a place where they can sneak in Taco Diner favorites and see how they sell.

“This gives us a chance to change things up,” Guevara says.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE