Home Events + News Jersey City’s Taqueria Is Open After Car Is Driven Into Its Exterior

Jersey City’s Taqueria Is Open After Car Is Driven Into Its Exterior

by Hoboken Girl Team
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A pleasant Saturday night took a turn when a patron allegedly drove a car into a downtown Jersey City taco spot, Taqueria, on February 11th. 2023. Taqueria is located at 236 Grove Street and has been a go-to for many neighbors for classic Mexican food since its opening in 2005. The good news for Hudson County residents is that this beloved spot is back open for business. Read on to learn more about the incident that happened in Jersey City and what we love about Taqueria.

Updates as of February 14th

After the incident, there was a sign outside Taqueria saying that the restaurant will be closed until further notice. We are happy to report that Taqueria has since reopened. The Hoboken Girl has been told that a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to support the two staff members who have been hospitalized, and will update this story with that information when it becomes available.

About Taqueria

Phil and Andrea Barraza started Taqueria after their taco cart became a big hit with Jersey City residents in the early 2000s. They opened the restaurant at 236 Grove Street in 2005 and have since gone on to open Taqueria Downtown Catering Company, located at 354 Grove Street; Los Cuernos, located at 499 Washington Boulevard; and Taqueria St. Mark’s located at 79 St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan. The restaurant is known for its simply prepared, high-quality Mexican food. Classics like flautas, enchiladas, tamales and tacos are some of the highlights on the menu. Margaritas are the go-to drink order here, but beer, wine and other cocktails are available.

taqueria downtown

Taqueria’s location at the corner of Grand Street and Grove Street makes it a popular destination, especially in the warmer months when the back patio is open.

What Happened

Eyewitness accounts and comments on social media — as well as sources close to the owners — indicate a chaotic scene that quickly devolved.

A source close to the owners told The Hoboken Girl, “A party came into Taqueria about 10 minutes before closing. Taqueria staff refused to serve them based on observations that they were already intoxicated. One person was throwing things at the staff and two other people were pushing and spitting on the manager.” The restaurant closes at 11PM.

The altercation escalated into a fight, according to eyewitnesses, and spilled out onto the street. The SUV was idling outside the restaurant — and according to a video shared by a local resident, one of the group jumped in and drove the car toward the crowd, hitting the exterior of the restaurant.

In a video, the driver is seen running away from the incident, and several others are in the car, which, according to eyewitnesses, included a small child. In the video, the onlookers called 911, and could be heard saying that “no one answered.”

The car is a white SUV, and police are on the lookout for it.

taqueria jersey city crash accident

^Footage from a video from a nearby eyewitness

The General Manager of Taqueria commented on social media that there was a baby in the back of the vehicle that hit the restaurant and that two of the restaurant’s staff have been injured and are now hospitalized.

Video from inside the restaurant shows a hole through the building, including its brick exterior wall. Dust and debris covered the restaurant’s supplies and several shelving units had been destroyed, knocking things onto the floor.

Another firsthand witness told HG: “Beyond just them ramming the restaurant, they were speeding up/down the street and around the block in an incredibly dangerous manner. I was in an uber across the street and was terrified they were going to hit us because they had already hit one car. Another car behind me had backed up to hide behind the construction site across the street to try to protect themselves. Very scary situation.”

In a statement to The Hoboken Girl, Jersey City spokesperson Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione shared:
“Upon arrival, JCPD officers spoke with a victim who stated he had refused service to the male actor due to it being “last call” at the bar.  The male got upset and started to yell at the victim.  Once outside, the actor was accompanied by another male and a female, and a physical altercation ensued. The 3 individuals then jumped into a vehicle and backed into two restaurant workers, the side of store, and also another vehicle. The two workers were transported to Jersey City Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver of the vehicle struck refused medical attention on scene. The investigation is ongoing. ”

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