Maria’s Mexican Grill and Taqueria closes

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According to today’s paper, Maria Estrada closed her Maria’s Mexican Grill and Taqueria restaurant at Hwy 3 and 2nd St. a week ago.

[Latino Enterprise Center Executive Director Reginaldo] Haslett-Marroquin said that turnaround measures to help the restaurant began in August 2007. Business experts were brought in to advise the Estradas in the areas of cost controls, financial management, marketing and negotiating strategies with suppliers. The Northfield Enterprise Center supported the restaurant by involving college students who are part of the College Board of Business Consultants in Northfield.

I blogged about the restaurant when it opened in Sept. 2006.

13 thoughts on “Maria’s Mexican Grill and Taqueria closes”

  1. Oh, I’m mad about that. I had a bad feeling about it since we’ve tried to go there two times and it was closed (normal business hours).

    Oh Dear. That building hasn’t had much success since I’ve been in town (1984).

  2. ¡Caracoles! (“Snails”—Rats!) Buena suerte a María y a su familia.
    And after such a nice story about her in December’s Northfield Entertainment Guide. I will miss that place and its congenial atmosphere and staff.

  3. Bright,

    Business has been slow at Tiny’s Hot Dogs, so I suggest that we all support him so we don’t lose another good restaurant. Polish sausage my favorite.

  4. Sad, sad, sad… I will miss my favorite fish tacos. 🙁 Much love to Maria, family, and employees. We will miss you. 🙂

  5. We’ve been hearing about Tiny’s for some time now. I did go there and
    had a dog, even tho I am not much of a meat eater. I did get enamoured
    of one small Coca Cola, also something I rarely indulge in, so I wouldn’t be
    the best customer, however I used to sling hot dogs as a teen ager in
    Chicago and realize the value of a ton of fries with black pepper on them
    in the winter, and a dog with mustard, onion, pickles and hot pepper on
    a poppy seed bun.

    So, however, this is a great opportunity for Tiny to add something really
    to talk about….a sandwich, perhaps, NO! only the best sandwich of the
    type around the whole country.

    Let me illustrate…
    My dh is a big red meat eater, he loves steak, but he will go back time and
    time again to this one restaurant in town for the burger. He says its the
    best he’s ever had, and I know he has ordered burgers all over ten states.

    Or offer something delicious likes smoothies, blended fruit and vegetable juices, frozen custard….I don’t know what all he has, but a rep for going
    under and a few good dogs.

  6. I just read all of the nice messages and I wanted to thank you on behalf of the Estradas. I became good friends with both of them as we worked together on the issues facing the restaurant and then in the process of closing it. On the flip side of this, this restaurant took so much out of Maria and Rafael’s lives that when something is going wrong like this business, it is a great relief when it can be closed and the drain of resources and energy stopped. Their family (specially their 19 year old baby) I know are already happier to have them home more, but as a community, it is important to keep in mind that they only closed because their business was not making it, as a result, there is an economic deficit that they still need to deal with. Continuing to support their catering business is the only practical suggestion I can offer, but your imagination should take over from here.

    John Thomas posted a comment on December 8, 2007 referring to the low prices Maria charged. I agree with this, we did convince Maria to raise her prices right from the start of our intervention, we did also work on cost controls and the experts we brought it were right on target in getting portion sizes and other cost cutting measures in place, all of this was not enough though, other aspects of business management that I won’t publicize need to be addressed for many Latino families trying to get into business. Part of our work at the LEC is to make sure that these experiences are not gone with the wind and that if Maria or others want to get back on business, all of the learning gets to put into use, but all of this does not make the closing of her business any easier, specially for those of us who got to see their passion for what they were doing.

    Thank you for the good wishes, and remember that Maria and Rafael are still moving along with their catering business, since her contact information is not as easy to find, I hope the moderators won’t mind me placing her number here (507 321 1884), you can still support her food business.

    I probably won’t be able to comment again on this entry, but I will try to read feedback that may be relevant to helping Maria’s catering business keep moving along.

    I have been seeing many more businesses closing, the downtown spaces for rent seem to be more than ordinary, down by Great Clips, another space is for rent, the fireplace store by McDonalds is closed and for rent as well. Maria is now closed…is it just my eyes or do we have a larger economic downturn happening, I wonder if the city’s EDA has anything to say on this economic matters.

    Happy holidays. Regi.

  7. Maria’s phone number is already in my book.

    I also wanted to say that while I don’t think that any one new item can save a business , refer to my post #9 above, I think that losts of stores creating lots of buzz about their no where else to be found unique and highly desirable items
    can save an area. Problem is, you don’t have the population numbers here,
    less than 20K people for part of the year and 15K people all year round
    doesn’t really have enough money, room in their garages, or closets to
    support all these stores. Supply and demand laws are going to win out
    over and above the tax man at these and I’d guess, lower rates.

    Point is, you have to get out and tell the rest of the world. For instance,
    what is Northfield doing in relation to the State 150 year birthday party
    next year? I didn’t see us on the 150 year website at all. Are we
    participating in that? What do we participate in elsewhere?

    I found out about Northfield when I belonged to a ladies group online,
    and asked if anyone knew a college town with arts and stuff to do,
    but I would bet that I am one of few who find out that way.

    Don’t forget Maria’s!

  8. Regi,
    Please, please get a simple website up and running, something with a nice photo, some basic information and some testimonials — and get it linked and tagged so people can find it with a search. Busy people who need caterers don’t have time to do a lot of research…and a basic site should be hard.

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