Food Page/Tid Bits, Stories

Good Food and Good Deeds at Tacos Libertad

December 14, 2017

By Mimi Pollack

David Cohn, owner of Tacos Libertad in Hillcrest, opened the not for profit taco shop last May in an effort to give back to the community by giving all proceeds, after operating expenses, to charity.

Cohn who is the head of the Cohn Restaurant Group, which includes restaurants like The Prado in Balboa Park, Corvette Diner in Liberty Station, and many more, was searching for innovative ways to support the communities that have patronized his many restaurants over the years.

While on a trip to Portland, Oregon, Cohn discovered the Oregon Public House, a pub that donates its proceeds to charity. He then decided that the Cohn Restaurant Group should try that model in San Diego.

Cohn’s late parents were deeply committed to social action as are his brothers and sister, thus this idea continued a long held family tradition of helping the communities they serve.

After learning of a large property that was available in Hillcrest, the restaurant group opened a BO-beau restaurant with with Tacos Libertad taking up a small space next door.

The menu at Tacos Libertad is small, but has a variety of options like vegetarian, seafood, and meat.

The vegetarian tacos are either grilled or made with tempura avocado and Portobello mushroom. The seafood tacos are octopus, grilled fish, and shrimp tacos. The meat tacos are chicken, steak, two types of pork, and a duck confit taco.

For drinks, the restaurant offer Jarritos, mexican sodas, and Blue Sky sodas, as well as various beers, wines, and micheladas, a spicy traditional Mexican drink with beer.

Unlike other Cohn restaurants, Tacos Libertad has a laid back environment where customers order at the counter and friendly employees bring the food to the table.

Behind the taco shop, there is a bar or a “speakeasy” called Cache, where customers can bring in their tacos while having a drink.

Restaurants typically take up to a year or more to turn a profit and Tacos Libertad is no different, thus the restaurant group is making up the difference in the meantime.

A special committee chooses a different charity every month based on applications sent in through the restaurant’s website, with the chosen charity being guaranteed $3,000 for the month.

The special committee aims to choose smaller, less known organizations that may be overlooked and do not have as great an access to resources as others.

Some organizations that have received their help include Mama’s Kitchen, Meals on Wheels, San Diego Youth Services, International Relief Teams, and Humble Design, which furnishes homes for the homeless.

In addition, after Hurricane Harvey and flooding in Texas, the taco shop held a “Tacos for Texas” month, with proceeds being donated to help the many victims of that natural disaster. They are also open to donating to animal organizations.

Tacos Libertad opens daily at 4 p.m., except on Sundays when it opens at 2 p.m., and is open until 2:30 a.m.

This schedule might not make it an ideal place for a office lunch hour, but remains a viable option for a late-night snack.

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