Mi Mero Mole, the Old Town taco spot known for its moles, fresh corn tortillas and variety of stewed fillings called guisados, is closing permanently as a result of the financial strain related to COVID-19, owner Nick Zukin announced on Facebook today.
Its final day in business will be Friday, July 3.
"We have lost money every day we have remained open and only did so because our staff is like family to us and we didn't want to let them down," Zukin wrote. "But it would be worse to remain open and then be unable to pay them for their work. Every employee will be paid in full plus a little extra. We are also working to find all of our staff new jobs."
A GoFundMe has been set up to assist its workers who are not eligible for unemployment.
Opened in 2012, Mi Mero Mole was Zukin's first solo restaurant after divesting from the Kenny and Zuke's sandwich franchise. (Zukin is an occasional WW contributor.)
"Finding a niche apart from the myriad taco trucks and establishments in town, Zukin crafts an impressive array of tasty guisados," WW wrote in its initial review of the restaurant. "The aroma inside Mi Mero Mole is like entering the kitchen of a Mexican grandmother—a heavenly blend of freshly made corn tortillas and simmering spices."
It's the second restaurant Zukin has closed this year: In mid-February, Zapapizza closed after only six months in business.
In his announcement, Zukin opined on the impact of the coronavirus and the subsequent government-mandated shutdown of businesses in downtown Portland.
"The future of small business is in crisis, and our leaders at the national, state and local levels remain ignorant or just don't give a damn," he wrote. "Republicans worry only about the stock market. Democrats worry only about unemployment."
Read Zukin's full statement here.