Taco Punk grovels for donations

Following the sudden Jan. 11 closure of tourist-and-cholesterol hotspot Lynn’s Paradise Cafe (whose eponymous owner, Lynn Winter, broke her “silence” in a statement published by The Courier-Journal), the taco truck-cum NuLu-based restaurant Taco Punk has fallen on hard times of its own. But instead of revitalizing the menu, offering specials, or consulting with Gordon Ramsay, Taco Punk proprietor Gabe Sowder has undertaken an unorthodox method to sustain his business: Asking for donations!

As reported by the gastronomically omnipresent Eater Louisville blog on Jan. 23:

In an email yesterday addressed to the “Taco Punk family,” the NuLu eatery’s chef and owner, Gabe Sowder, requested $20,000 in donations through a pending Kickstarter campaign.

“We are struggling to keep our doors open,” Sowder wrote. “Although we are asking for $20k, we need every contribution we can get in order for us to survive into our second year. If we do not reach our goal we will be forced to make very undesirable decisions.”

Sowder didn’t specify if one of those “undesirable decisions” would be more unsightly begging.

Sowder said the funds raised would support “developing the capacity of our location to increase sales,” increasing Taco Punk’s catering business, launching a targeted marketing campaign and developing “our side lot into a beautiful alfresco dining and performance space.”

As the Eater Louisville blogger noted, pleading puts the hip, bourgeoisie eatery on par with the likes of the Dare to Care Food Bank, which sounds like the plot for an episode of “Portlandia.”


  1. Ben Byrnes
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    What does the Leo have against asking for donations? It seems that when a local business does ask or needs more business (ear x tacy) the Leo rips them in half and makes the business or person look like a pan handler or crack head selling roses! Times are tough, the economy sucks. These businesses have put their heart and soul into something that is failing, to only have someone smash their already broken heart into more pieces. I understand that any press is good press. I also think that in a different city like Louisville people will take your article and just say fuck it, let them drown. Think about helping next time and a doing some research and trying to find out why this business is struggling. Is it the location, is the owner snorting every little profit up his nose, is the economy just that bad, or does the food just suck. Who knows, you might just help a business survive and help a person who wants to do the same thing not make the same mistakes. Benjamin Patrick Byrnes

  2. Ponderosa
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Asking for business is perfectly natural. Asking for free money, isn’t business. Comparing Ear X and taco punk is a misguided reach. Times are tough, and where buying vinyl or new music may take a back seat, food doesn’t. Plenty if local, great food ventures reside in Louisville and I am sure all of them would be happy to get $20k to boost the business. But they aren’t relying on, or threatening closing in lack of welfare. They are making their businesses successful by making their customers happy and satisfied. That’s business. And unfortunately not everyone can figure that out.

  3. sandman
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    this is what this country has become.Its all about BAILOUTS!
    If you do not make the right decisions as a business owner then you go out of business.I wish the best for the place but not everyone can MAKE it.

  4. Puhn Tang
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey, as any great salesman or panhandler or pussyhound will tell you…all they can do is say no.

  5. M 12
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Seems the economy strikes again. i have eaten there half a dozen times and I live twenty miles south; so seems like the location is not being supported by the neighborhood. Too bad I love the mole. Makes me hungry, maybe I should visit again soon, stay open that long at least. Good luck and fight for your right to party!

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