Taco Deli — the family-owned restaurant known for offering fresh-Mex inspired meals, sandwiches and smoothies for La Cañada’s health-conscious set — will close its doors Saturday after 22 years of serving the local community.
Owner Julie Sarkissian said Friday she planned to hang up her apron in order to rest, relax and spend more time with her grandchildren.
“It came to the point where I need to go,” the 71-year-old La Crescenta resident said. “My kids have been telling me, ‘Mom, it’s time,’ so I made the decision.”
Sarkissian opened the small storefront at 456 Foothill Blvd. alongside ex-husband Sako in 1997 and ran the business with help from son Mike and daughter Annie, growing it into a local favorite with a string of faithful regular customers.
“Sometimes they come for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” she said of Taco Deli’s loyal customers, who have been stopping by to say their goodbyes and have one final meal in the beloved establishment.
In the decades that followed, Sarkissian’s responsibility for overseeing operations grew as her ex-husband passed away in 2005 and the children eventually left the family enterprise to pursue their own career paths.
On Friday, the grandmother of six described coming in to work on a daily basis, supervising a staff of three full-time cooks and two part-timers and sometimes having to arrive at the crack of dawn to fill large catering orders.
Maintaining a robust menu of options made from scratch with fresh ingredients — with tacos, burritos and Taco Deli’s superfood juice and menu options singled out as favorite by hundreds of Yelp reviews — was no small task, but the idea was to never compromise on quality, Sarkissian said.
That’s made finding just the right buyer a bit of a predicament, the owner confessed.
“People are skeptical because there’s a lot of labor in it, there’s a lot of chopping,” Sarkissian said. “[Prospective buyers] say the place is too small to have that much work.”
Still, there’s been some interest, causing her to retain hope someone will come in and continue the spirit of the business that for so long has been a source of happiness and pride for the family.
“It’s been a pleasure serving this community — it’s lovely,” Sarkissian said.