Commentary: Tex Mex, Yes!

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 28, 2007

The city redevelopment agency paid Portland-based seafood chain McCormick and Schmick’s $800,000 to remodel and move into the old Elks Building on J Street.  At the other end of downtown, Texas Mexican restaurant got $60,000 and an eviction notice.

For years, Tex Mex had thrived on one of the most blighted blocks downtown. The family-owned restaurant served good food at reasonable prices. It attracted shop girls on a budget and rich lobbyists.

Then last year the redevelopment agency sent the eviction notice informing Tex Mex owners they would have to vacate in 90 days or face legal proceedings.

Griselda Barajas reluctantly closed her business, but she resented being pushed out. When Moe Mohanna, the downtown property owner who’s been fighting with the city over a land swap deal gone sour, invited her to return to her old spot, she jumped at the chance.

She plans to re-open Tex Mex in mid-November. She’s taking a risk. The city’s on again off again deal with Mohanna could force her to move again. But, if the city were smart they would invite Tex Mex to stay. Isn’t there room downtown for McCormick and Schmick’s and Tex Mex?


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.