Fernanda Gonzales delivers takeout food to Jesus Valenzuela Tuesday, June 23, at Las Palmitas Taco Shop on Adams Avenue during #TakeoutTuesday in El Centro. 

EL CENTRO — Customers waited Tuesday, June 23, inside their cars — parked in the designated waiting/drop zone, at Las Palmitas Taco Shop on Adams Avenue in El Centro. After several minutes, a server emerged from the door, carrying two plastic bags containing their takeout food. 

From his rear-view mirror, Calexico resident Jesus Valenzuela could see the approach and in anticipation, lowered the window to receive the food he ordered.

It was #TakeoutTuesday, a day designated by Imperial County to encourage residents to support local restaurants during COVID-19 restrictions, according to a statement from the County. 

The hashtag movement is occurring throughout the Country, where people are purchasing food from their locally owned restaurants and supporting the small business owners of their communities.

Fernanda Gonzales, with her facial mask on, brought and handed a receipt with the ordered takeout food to Valenzuela. According to Valenzuela, he ordered menudo, sope, and papas. He paid about $30 for the takeout lunch. 

“This restaurant has good food and good service,” said Valenzuela. “We drove from Calexico to El Centro to buy takeout food,” said Valenzuela, who was accompanied by his family inside the car. Outside temperature was 110 F. 

Another customer was Francisco Murguia, 71, who waited in his car. He sported sunglasses and had a mask on. Earlier, Murguia drove up to the drive-thru and paid his order. Then, he was instructed to drive and wait at the drop-off zone. There were other cars behind him that moved forward after he left. 

“I purchased four fish tacos,” said Murguia. “I didn’t cook today.” 

“Our revenue is steadily rising,” said Omar Vega, manager and owner of Las Palmitas Taco Shop, on Adams Ave. According to Vega, the taco shop had another branch on Fourth Street in El Centro. 

About three months ago, Las Palmitas’ dine-in section of the restaurant was closed due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, their drive-thru and take-out services continued. 

Prices at Adams Ave. were normal prices. But the branch on Fourth Street had an offer of “two tacos for the price of one.” A regular priced taco cost $2.70. With the offer, it would be two tacos for $2.70. 

As the restaurants struggle to keep open, Vega encourages residents, “Support local businesses and buy from family-owned restaurants. We want the other restaurants to succeed as well.” 

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