It's the end of the road for Cuco's, which will close its doors for good this coming Monday after nearly 23 years in the Lower Haight.
As we reported back in July, the Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant at 488 Haight Street was facing eviction by landlord Robert Shelton, who sought to terminate the business's month-to-month lease without explanation.
The Campos family, which has operated Cuco's since February of 1992, initially sought to have the eviction thrown out in court. That motion was filed by Domingo Campos on August 6th. Unfortunately for Cuco's, the motion was officially denied on August 27th.
With that, the issue headed for a trial, which was scheduled to begin on October 6th.
However, in the days leading up to the trial, the Campos family was advised by their attorney that their prospects were not good, Hoodline learned yesterday. Not only were they unlikely to prevail in court, but they would be responsible for the landlord's legal fees if they did indeed lose. All things considered, the family decided to settle.
A few days ago, they reached a settlement which will have them vacate the property by October 15th.
Yesterday we spoke with Kirsten Ingebretsen, a local attorney and friend of the Campos family. Kirsten told us that she had seen Cuco's lease, and she was shocked.
"It was a half a page long and had only the basic elements that are legally required," Kirsten said. "I've never seen a commercial lease like that before. Commercial leases are usually very long and thought-out contracts."
Kirsten added that without intervention from any allies in city government, as had helped spare Cuco's during a similar eviction threat back in 2012, the restaurant was left without options.
"I felt as a neighbor who's lived here since 2005 that we should contact the Supervisor. I sent an email with Judy and contacted [London Breed's] office to try and set up a meeting and she never responded. As a neighbor, I am disappointed in that. The political pressure was all [Cuco's] had left to stand on."
[Update: Vallie Brown from Breed's office has responded in the comments.]
As for the future, daughter Judy Campos told us yesterday that the family is considering its options. “We are also looking into other options like food trucks and pop-ups," Judy said. "But there are issues with those, too.”
She added that whether Cuco's will return to the Lower Haight, in any form, is unclear. "We’d like to stay in the neighborhood and stay local for everybody, but it's very expensive.”
Cuco's will vacate the property next Wednesday the 15th, but it will close to customers after service this coming Monday, October 13th, so stop by to say goodbye and grab a final burrito while you still can.
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