|Odor felled the Bautistas' taco shop.|
Taqueria Bautista is now closed. One of the reasons, according to co-owner Juan Bautista: Patrons complained about the pungent aroma of mothballs wafting from the Oriental-rug shop next to the restaurant. That store is operated by the owner of the building, Taqueria Bautista's landlord.
But really, how bad was the odor?
When I stopped by the venue yesterday to take a photo of the now-shuttered space, the intense smell of mothballs coming from the carpet store forced me to stop and catch my breath. At this point, I didn't know about the connection between the aroma and the closing of the restaurant. Later that night, I met with Juan Bautista at the new Carmen's Cafe in Leawood and got the whole stinkin' story.
"We had a collection of e-mails from customers complaining about the smell of the mothballs," Bautista told me. "How can you operate a restaurant where the senses are a selling tool? Food not only has to taste appetizing, but the visual impression and fragrance have to be enticing, too."
The Bautista brothers are not giving up on the idea of inexpensive tacos. They're looking at several midtown locations: "Places with parking," Juan said, referring to another frequent complaint about the 4116 Broadway location -- the setting for at least a half-dozen failed restaurant operations in recent years. (One other recent notable closing: a hot dog spot called Relish.)
"Right now, our focus is on the new Carmen's Cafe," Juan Bautista said.
The new venue is in Leawood's Park Place, a fast-expanding entertainment hub that so far has given off only the sweet smell of success.