SAINT JOHN — A popular Latin American restaurant that’s been operating in uptown Saint John for 26 years has closed its doors. Taco Pica led the way in creating a vibrant culture and restaurant scene in the uptown core.
Located at 96 Germain Street, it has now permanently closed, according to the post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“Thank You, Saint John, for allowing me to share my dream of providing Spanish culture and cuisine with you,” the post read.
“A very heartfelt thank you to my colleagues, employees and patrons that have made the last 30 years worthwhile. We played with all our hearts and have many wonderful memories.
The post did not go into any details on the reasons for the closure.
The restaurant opened in 1994 by Guatemalan refugees with a vision to share Latin American culture with the people of Saint John and served authentic Mexican, Guatemalan and Spanish food. Taco Pica also had a stand inside the Saint John City Market.
But Taco Pica wasn’t just a restaurant, for many in the Saint John community, it was a gathering place. The restaurant hosted live shows for all different genres of music, from Spanish, Latin American to rock/punk.
It was also known as one of the few venues in the city that hosted all-ages shows and was beloved by Saint John’s music scene. Taco Pica was also famous for its vibrant green bathroom, where many people would take selfies, which are popping up again on social media as Taco Pica fans learn of its closure. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to these selfies.
Saint Johners near and far expressed their sadness about the closure on social media. Some also shared memories.
Just heard word that Taco Pica is now permanently closed. Endless thanks goes out to Santos and his staff for providing Saint John authentic cuisine for over 30 years, as well as a cultural space for countless musicians and artists. This one hurts -Saint John has lost a gem. pic.twitter.com/pQJIaVydZQ
— Chuck Teed (@chuckteed) May 7, 2020
Subtle played the last taco pica show ever ha ha I WIN! Honestly this sucks a lot
— drew (@Iamdrewling) May 7, 2020
i’m so, so sad to hear that #saintjohn‘s beloved taco pica has apparently closed its doors for good.
so many memories there dating back to high school. so many shows & great meals. this is a terrible loss to local music.https://t.co/fFIY4ZUDz9
— Julia Wright (@thewrightpage) May 7, 2020
Those all ages shows with flautas and 3/$10 tequila shots will live on in our hearts. Taco Pica will be missed and best of luck to the ever lovely Santos & co.
— Julianne ? (@jul7ianne) May 7, 2020
One of Canada’s best community businesses — Saint John, NB restaurant Taco Pica — is closing after 26 years. Owner Santos Ruyan, a refugee from the Guatemalan civil war, served beautiful cuisine. In recent years, he employed and helped Syrian refugees. https://t.co/hP9Zro4LZ3
— Sean Craig (@sdbcraig) May 7, 2020
Back when there used to be a Press Club in Saint John, a young Guatemalan refugee worked clearing tables and washing dishes. He along with some fellow refugees opened Taco Pica not long after and it was a staple in our food and music scene. It will be missed.#weloveyousantos
— Nelson Hansen (@NelsonHansen64) May 7, 2020
Loved Taco Pica but never made it into the bathroom. My greatest regret.
— Mark Burnett (@burnettisms) May 7, 2020
Taco pica closed before I ever got the chance to take a green bathroom selfie. Pretty sad. Don’t text.
— kenya (@k3nyasaurus) May 7, 2020
This place was where you wanted to #livelifeuptown way, way before it became cool to do so https://t.co/73vT6fXCti
— Kurt Peacock (@kurtpeacock) May 7, 2020