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Taquería Owner Issues Apology After Assaulting Long Beach Street Vendor, Offers to Replace Phone

"I genuinely regret any harm or distress caused, and I take full responsibility for my actions. What happened was entirely inappropriate, and Iunderstand the impact it had on Tacos la Jiquilita and our community," writes the owner of La Taquería Brand in a letter emailed to L.A. TACO.

11:39 AM PST on January 11, 2024

Five days after Tacos La Juquilita posted a video on their Instagram account showing Ricardo M. Villalobos, the owner of the La Taquería Brand chain, assaulting one of their stand's taqueros in Long Beach, Villalobos has issued a an apology for his actions.

In a letter sent to L.A. TACO yesterday at 3:36 PM, Villalobos says that he genuinely regrets "any harm or distress caused" to the taqueros.

"I take full responsibility for my actions," he states. "I want to be transparent about the emotions and frustrations that led to my actions. However, it's important to note that this doesn't justify what I did. I should have handled
the situation differently, and I deeply regret my mistake."

Villalobos tells L.A. TACO that the decision to write this statement from his personal email was a decision that he and his partners decided on.

"These actions and communication are my direct responsibility and not from La
Taquería Brand," he emphasizes in the email.

In an attempt to right his wrongs, Villalobos says he will replace the taquero's broken phone. He also offers to "donate a fully licensed cart, equipped with all necessary permits, to a deserving individual," apparently indicating someone other than the vendor who was assaulted.

That gesture is his way of "contributing positively to the street vendor community." He asks any organization to "transparently select a deserving street vendor in need of his support."

As a reminder, the only street food vending carts that have been fully permitted to sell on the streets of Los Angeles County are tamal carts. Currently, there are no taco carts or grills that are regulated to sell on the street, though L.A. TACO has confirmed that Revolucion Carts is working on prototypes—subject to approval by the Department of Public Health.

However, when asked over email if he supports, or still opposes Tacos La Juquilita from setting up on the sidewalk in front of his new location of La Taquería Brand, Villalobos is yet to respond.

Since the altercation, L.A. TACO has confirmed that Tacos La Juquilita is still selling tacos at the same location, which they've been doing for the last year, before La Taquería Brand decided to open in the same location.

L.A. TACO also confirmed with the Long Beach Police Department that they did receive a call about the incident, and resolved the dispute.

"On Jan. 5, 2024, at approximately 5:33 p.m., police responded to the intersection of Artesia Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue regarding a dispute. The preliminary investigation indicates a male adult was outside when he was in a dispute with a group of subjects. Officers responded to the scene and resolved the dispute."

Find Ricardo M. Villalobos' full apology letter below. Note: L.A. TACO has been notified that Villalobos has not apologized to Tacos La Juquilita in person.

Hello everyone,

I hope this message finds you well. I am reaching out to address a recent incident that occurred last Friday outside our soon-to-open restaurant, and I want to express my sincere apologies for my actions.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the impact of my behavior towards the owner of Tacos la Jiquilita [sic] de Oaxaca. I genuinely regret any harm or distress caused, and I take full responsibility for my actions. What happened was entirely inappropriate, and Iunderstand the impact it had on Tacos la Jiquilita and our community.

I want to be transparent about the emotions and frustrations that led to my actions. However, it's important to note that this doesn't justify what I did. I should have handled the situation differently, and I deeply regret my mistake.

I want to publicly apologize to Mrs. Ana's husband for damaging his phone. I understand the discomfort and frustration this may have caused, and I am committed to rectifying the situation by covering the replacement cost of the damaged phone.

As a demonstration of our commitment to continue supporting street vendors in our community, I want to take proactive measures. I am committed to donating a fully licensed cart, equipped with all necessary permits, to a deserving individual. This gesture is my way of contributing positively to the street vendor community. I invite an organization to transparently select a deserving street vendor or person/family in need of this support.

I extend an invitation for an open dialogue with Tacos la Jiquilita de Oaxaca. If they ever need assistance with obtaining permits or any other restaurant consultation, I offer my time and restaurant acumen resources to conduct a specialized workshop to support them or other street vendors on any relevant topic. I always support people in need and I will always will.

This actions and communication is my direct responsibility and not from La
Taqueria Brand.

Once again, I sincerely apologize for my actions, and I appreciate your attention.

Thank you,

Sincerely,

Ricardo M Villalobos

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