Cali’s Fresh Mexican opened up on Quintard Avenue and served San Diego-style tacos just three months ago, but it's now closed.
Owner Steven Landers said the venture failed because it didn’t make enough money to cover the increasing cost of ingredients, demand for the product was low and professional help was too hard to find.
“The sales were not near where they needed to be,” he said.
While in operation, the business served street tacos and burritos filled with grilled fish, shrimp and steak often topped with guacamole. Landers, who also owns Effina’s Tuscan Grill in Jacksonville, said he opened the restaurant to bring California-style, Baja Mexican cuisine to the area.
Landers said he fell in love with the food while living in California.
“You either loved it or you hated it,” he said. “It just didn’t have that broad appeal that maybe fried chicken does here.”
This summer the restaurant's small parking lot, at the corner of 18th Street, was often full of cars. But after the lunch hour, business trickled off, he said.
Landers said while several food items have increased in cost since he began drafting the restaurant's business plan more than a year ago, the increased cost of flank steak, which was one of his key ingredients, was particularly tough on business.
One year ago, the meat was being sold for $3.84 per pound. Now, he said, it’s up to $5.99.
On Tuesday, two days after he closed up shop in Anniston, Landers took the Mexican ingredients to his Tuscan restaurant and cooked them for customers.