Good riddance, that’s what a lot of people in Yucca Valley are saying about a taco shop owner who closed up shop a couple of weeks ago. When he closed his restaurant, he took to social media and blasted the people in town, that at one time he hoped would be his customers.
James Collins says he moved to Joshua Tree four years ago.
“I grew up in LA, tacos were something that I knew well and felt it was one of the things that was lacking in the high desert,” Collins said.
So, he opened ‘Gonzo Tacos’ at the shopping center off Acoma Trail in October last year.
“Even though I knew that it wasn’t in the area that my main customer base would be in, I thought that it would still work out and people would drive the 7 miles to get good food,” Collins said.
Unlike traditional Mexican food, Collins made his food with a twist adding ingredients such as wasabi, an infusion many customers liked.
“The food was delicious, it was very different, like you kind of would need an experience pallet I’d say,” said former customer Tara Gershuny.
Others, however, didn’t become fans and Collins found himself closing up shop nearly a year later on October 31. Collins went out with a certain bang, at least on Facebook, posting the comment below on its Gonzo Tacos page.
“Well, it’s been an interesting trip, but it’s become clear to me that Yucca Valley would prefer to eat *%$@ and die. Tomorrow will be our last day. Farewell, you bunch of inbred, meth snorting hicks!!!!”
His post quickly took off with dozens of people posting responses, some negative, others siding with the owner.
“I knew there would be people that would snap back at me, but yeah the level, I think its close to 20,000 views at this point. I’m just kind of laughing at it,” Collins said.
People we talked to say it’s blatantly rude and not true.
“Not everybody here is a meth head. Not everybody here does drugs. We work, we’ve got families, it’s a great community,” said Yucca Valley resident Michael Stiles.
Collins believes he’s just being more vocal about what’s on everybody’s mind.
“I can understand people being protective of where they’re from and not wanting anyone to disparage it, but I just think it hit too close to home for a lot of people,” Collins said.
Tara Gershuny says despite liking the food, Collins’ comment may have not been a wise move.
“You know he’s hurting himself. Like what if he ever wanted to open somewhere else,” she said.
Collins says he’s not sure what’s next for him, but doesn’t regret his post.
“No, I mean, it was just a funny comment, and people took it very seriously,” he said.