La Estrella Tacos, beloved Highland Park restaurant, to close after 25 years
A local taqueria beloved by many across the Southland for their delicious tacos is set to close down after nearly 25 years of operation.
La Estrella Tacos, located on N. Figueroa Street in Highland Park, had its final day of operation on Firday after receiving notice that they had to be out of the building as the landowner had reportedly sold the property.
"It's really, really sad," said Laura Torres, an employee at the restaurant for 15 years. "But, we can't do nothing about it. It's already sold."
Torres said that the owner of La Estrella Tacos received noticed about a month ago that they would have 30 days to cease operations after the sale was finalized.
The owner was too busy to talk on camera Friday evening, as he prepared the final meals for his customers, many of whom were far from happy to hear the news.
"We're sad. We're sad and hoping they'll reopen soon," said Liset De La Vega. "Somewhere quick and hopefully somewhere here."
According to many, that is one of the biggest issues facing longstanding businesses on N. Figueroa Street, where buildings are frequently being sold and store fronts boarded up — all as real estate prices soar.
"I moved over here because it was affordable. That's over. I think a lot of people have been pushed out of where they live and rents have gone up astronomically," said Bonnie Fisher, who lives nearby.
It's that "gentrification," that leaves the residents with mixed feelings as so many of their favorite haunts are forced to close down.
"Places have changed, been closed, new stores. It's made the neighborhood look really nice," said another resident.
Those increased rents are the main problem La Estrella Tacos owners have faced as they look for a new location, something they say will cost them more than three times what they currently play. At this point, they said they have their eye on a couple of places to move the business to, but would need the necessary permits and approval, so there is no timeframe for when they could reopen.
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