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I was grooving, listening to someone strumming on the guitar in the door well of this Blue Line trolley...

“Yes’n how many times must a man go down…”

...and watching the skeleton of the new library heading skywards, when we rumbled in to the first stop up from 12th and Imperial.

Right outside: Azteca (Azteca Taco Shop, 555 Park Boulevard, 619-239-9320).

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Remembered my friend Andy giving me some advice one broke Saturday afternoon. “If money’s the issue when you’re in East Village, at least you know Azteca’s there.”

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I had fond memories of Azteca. They had been right by the trolley at 12th and Imperial transit center, always open, and man they would serve me, you, anybody. It was kinda the social center for the 12th and Imp-Father Joe set. But the food was always good, like plenty, and the price fair.

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The old Azteca

Then, developers got big plans to extend East Village. They bought the block Azteca sat on, demolished, and suddenly, boom! Bust!

Azteca’s land has become a car park.

Meanwhile Azteca moved up one trolley stop here to Park and Market. On a sentimental impulse, I hop off. There are two people in wheelchairs waiting to be hoisted aboard. Might just make it back in time.

I swing through Azteca's glass door. See they have a good value breakfast/lunch specials menu.

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Chris Fenton, who’s a chef, is ordering three carne asada tacos ($2.25 each).

“I’m moving back to Colorado,” he says. “But this was my place. These were my tacos.”

Sergio Tello’s waiting.

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Sergio and Chris

I order the fish taco ($3.80, with rice and beans).

And Azteca's move? “It turned out it was a good thing,” says Sergio. “Down there people didn’t have money. It’s just two blocks, but here, people pay rent.”

The fish taco?

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Even two hours later, when I get to eat it, it’s juicy and still crispy.

Maybe Chris should reconsider Colorado.

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