A huge wave of support, a deal that fell apart at the last second and some cold feet have led Maria Corbalan to decide to keep her iconic Taco Xpress (2529 S. Lamar Blvd.) open.

“We had huge support from the community since we announced we were closing,” said Corbalan, who announced the closing originally in February.

But one thing hasn’t changed.

Mauri McAlister, a third-generation Austinite, visited Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar in February after learning the restaurant was being sold. (Tamir Kalifa AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

“The only problem is taxes,” Corbalan said.

Corbalan said the taxes, which initially incited her to sell, are in danger of being raised from about $50,000 to about $70,000. She has hired a company to protest the tax hike. The property was appraised at more than $3 million this year, up from $760,000 in 2012. 

“It’s very very sad that Austin is killing all small business. What is happening with Keep Austin Weird? That is something that has marked the history of this town,” Corbalan said. “This is a good reality check.”

If she’s not able to keep the taxes from rising yet again, Corbalan said she will look to take on an investor in order to remain open.

Corbalan, who says she has been overwhelmed by customer support in recent months, thinks the changing demographics of the growing city have also hurt business in recent years. Many of those who once frequented Taco Xpress, long known as a home of funky South Austin culture, have moved from the area, and some who have moved in in recent years don’t have the same familiarity with the business.

“Because Austin is growing in such a different direction right now, we want to invite new people to come see us. It’s  almost like nobody knows us anymore because of the growth and the turn the city has taken. We want people to give a chance to mom and pop’s and the old days of Austin.”


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