Taco Punk Owner Gabe Sowder on Kickstarter, Local Foods and the Restaurant’s Future

The restaurant Taco Punk caused a stir in January when owner Gabe Sowder announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund a proposed expansion—critics argued that it was a misuse of crowdsourcing.

Taco Punk’s failed effort to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter by the Feb. 22 deadline was joined with news of a lawsuit brought by the Metropolitan Business Development Corp., which claimed the restaurant had fallen back on loan payments.

On Thursday, Sowder discussed with WFPL’s Jonathan Bastian the Kickstarter campaign and controversy, his revised plans for the restaurant and the lawsuit.

Listen to the interview below:

On the lawsuit:

“We’d just fallen behind on the payments. They’d sent us a letter from the county attorney that we never got, so we weren’t really made aware that this action was going to happen and we never really had any chance to have any resource to it until we were served with the papers. Fortunately, they’re really great people to work with. And they just wanted contact. We made contact with them, submitted a payment plan, made a payment and the lawsuit will not move forward.”

On Kickstarter:

“There was a lot of confusion. I don’t think a lot of people were familiar with how Kickstarter works, what it’s for, how it’s not a donation—you actually get something of monetary value back. So we spent a lot of time just explaining what Kickstarter was and what we’re about, that was really good.”

On using local foods: 
 
“It’s not hard for a business plan in that you do have to adjust your business prices and make that part of your brand—and just say, this is the true cost of food. They’re not under any government subsidies, they don’t get any kickbacks from large corporations, they’re small families, they want to make a decent living and pay their employees well.”

On Taco Punk’s future:

“We’ve definitely turned a corner and things are looking really well for us.”

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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