Taco Shop Owner ‘Thankful’ for Opportunity to Serve Free Meals on Thanksgiving



Two weeks ago, an SUV smashed into their restaurant. Two weeks later, Frida’s Street Tacos in Escondido continued with its plan to serve people free tacos on Thanksgiving Day.

“We have been blessed with the support of a lot of people,” co-owner Gracy Ayala said.

She said the young restaurant needed support after opening in 2020 during the pandemic. As a way to say thanks, Ayala and her husband Robert decided to make free taco meals for anyone who showed up on Thanksgiving Day.

“We pulled up. They didn’t say anything. Just gave us our food and drink and said, ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’” smiled Escondido resident Omar Delacruz.

Many Frida’s employees showed up to work for free, too.

“We were a little worried that it might not happen because of all the stuff that we had going on,” grimaced Ayala.

On Nov. 11, a possibly stolen SUV plowed through their front door after it hit another truck right in front of Frida’s.

“It went all the way into our restaurant,” Ayala sighed. “It was devastating. I’m not going to lie.”

The taco shop is still boarded up, but Frida’s employees continue serving people in the parking lot, an outdoor dining area born during the pandemic.

Amazingly, the SUV was the second vehicle to crash into Frida’s since it opened.

“Second time,” Ayala forced a smile. “It was exactly a year and a day later, to the day.”

The two crashes almost a year apart only fortified the Ayalas and their staff.

“They get knocked out and get right back up,” said Delacruz.

Ayala said they couldn’t get back up without the community, which is why Frida’s paid them back on Thanksgiving.

“We are very blessed,” said Ayala. “I feel fortunate enough to be able to help somebody else.”

She said they have spoken with the city of Escondido about installing barriers in front of their restaurant to prevent more cars from crashing into it.



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