Collage of two photos in a grid with a black frame surrounding the photos. The photo on the left depicts the bright-blue exterior of Taco City Taqueria in Columbia City. The image on the right depicts the flyer for the 2022 Cinco de Mayo festival.

Columbia City’s Taco City Taqueria Hosts Cinco de Mayo Festival

by Ronnie Estoque

Cesar III opened Taco City Taqueria alongside his business partners in Columbia City in August of 2020. Originally, he had been heavily involved within the music industry in Seattle and was eager to provide authentic Mexican food to the neighborhood. Cesar is revisiting his music roots by hosting a Cinco de Mayo Festival. The festival will also include both food and drinks specials, live local DJ sets from Supreme La Rock, Topspin, and JusMoni, and a live performance from Seattle’s Marshall Law Band. Taco City Taqueria will be opening at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, and will begin its event at 5 p.m. with an ending time of 9 p.m.

Flyer for the 2022 Cinco de Mayo Festival at Taco City Taqueria in Columbia City.

According to Cesar, he considers all the performers on Thursday as family and has built solid relationships with them through his experience in the Seattle music scene. He also features his resident DJ team that features other local talent at his restaurant on Tuesdays and Saturdays and alternates between Supreme La Rock, Topspin, and JusMoni as well.

Last year, Cesar was able to host his first Cinco de Mayo Festival. According to him, the sunny weather brought a good crowd of customers that showed up to celebrate in his community space.

The family-run business is growing, especially with the opening of a second Taco City Taqueria location last month in Belltown. It’s an even greater feat considering the taqueria opened during the pandemic, which in 2020 was rife with unknowns. 

“I didn’t really know what to expect as my first restaurant venture … I wasn’t sure how the challenges of the pandemic were going to affect us,” Cesar said.

According to him, takeout orders from local customers heavily supported the business during the first months of the pandemic when dining was not permitted. Once mandates allowed for seated dining options, Taco City Taqueria’s indoor and outdoor space allowed them to accommodate the new guidelines. 

Cesar began planning for the Belltown restaurant location opening after being notified by a friend about the space available next to Have a Heart. His long-term goal is to continue to expand but wants to make sure that it’s done efficiently and correctly.

“I was pretty much filling the void right there next door [to Have a Heart],” Cesar said. “We’re just filling the void of food … knowing that there’s no real authentic tacos [nearby].” 

Although the new location brings authentic Mexican dishes to Belltown, Cesar has a special connection to Columbia City. 

“The city in general has been gentrified … and so to be part of the now community [South Seattle], as well coming up in the community as well, it feels really good,” Cesar said.

Currently, Taco City Taqueria in Columbia City provides Happy Hours 3–6 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day on Wednesdays. They also have large flat-screen TVs that often feature live professional sports. Cesar is eager to provide an exceptional dining experience to all those that visit his restaurants and hopes to continue to bring the community together.

“Whoever comes, have fun, be safe, enjoy, celebrate, you know, keep a smile on your face,” Cesar said.

Ronnie Estoque is a South Seattle-based freelance photographer and videographer. You can keep up with his work by checking out his website.

📸 Featured Image: Taco City Taqueria will host its Cinco de Mayo festival on Thursday, May 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., featuring food and drink specials, music, and live DJs. Photo courtesy of Taco City Taqueria.

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