Taco Zone in downtown Lawrence closes; catering still available

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Taco Zone in downtown Lawrence has closed to focus on catering, its owners say.

“Brick and mortars are hard, and we found ourselves regularly distracted from the catering side of things to manage the shop,” Codi Bates said via email. “Foot traffic is down downtown, so slower business at the shop made it a great opportunity to pivot.”

Codi and Simon Bates, a married couple, have owned and operated Taco Zone since November 2022. They bought it from Taco Zone’s creators, Brad Shanks, Brian Ayers and Courtney Ayers, Codi says. The Bateses are also owners of The Burger Stand, Parallel Sauce Co., Bon Bon!, and Cider Gallery in Lawrence.

Currently sitting at 13 E. Eighth St. for the last eight years or so, Taco Zone originated as a stand inside downtown’s Replay Lounge.

“Small, locally owned shops (restaurants and retail alike) are the backbone of our community,” Codi said. “Owners often provide more than just a great product. By supporting causes and individuals outside their four walls and supporting locally owned small businesses is crucial to a vibrant community – especially downtown.”

Taco Zone is the second downtown taco shop to close in as many months. Rusty Taco, at 945 Massachusetts St., recently announced that it would close its doors at the end of June.

Although Taco Zone is closing its doors and regular hours, staff members are hoping to plan some popups at the shop or at Cider Gallery’s Final Fridays, Codi said. Catering will be available for events, from full service weddings to small gatherings needing only pickup or dropoff options.

“We love bringing our delicious food into folks’ spaces and taking the work off their shoulders,” Codi said.

For information on Taco Zone Catering, visit the shop’s website, thetacozone.com. Follow its social media accounts for information ahead of pop-up events and other updates: Instagram, @taco_zone, and Facebook, facebook.com/tacozoneLFK.

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Maya Hodison (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at mhodison (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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Gray coneflower, Ratibida pinnata, is a long blooming native perennial whose name refers to the gray cone under the brown disk florets, here being visited by a bumblebee interested in their sweet nectar.


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