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Seattle Taco Truck Fixture Tomas Lopez Has Died from COVID-19

Lopez ran Tacos El Tajin, a South Lake Union staple, and was beloved by many

A view of the green Tacos El Tajin food truck, painted green with a cartoon pepper on the side
Thomas Lopez ran Tacos El Tajin, which became a mainstay in Seattle.
Tacos El Tajin/Facebook

Seattle’s food truck world is in mourning. Tomas Lopez — who ran the popular truck Tacos El Tajin in the city and a Mexican restaurant in Algona, Washington — died last Thursday after contracting COVID-19, his family announced this week. Lopez was 44 years old.

Known for his gregarious personality and his easy rapport with customers, Lopez launched Tacos El Tajin more than 10 years ago. It eventually became a staple in the South Lake Union area, and even received some national attention in 2017, when Lopez started serving food out of his truck during a traffic jam on I-5.

Lopez’s son, Isaac, launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses and to keep the family business running. So far, it has raised more than quadruple its initial goal of $10,000, along with an outpouring of sympathy from regulars. “[Lopez’s] warmth and charm are what brought me back again and again over the past 10 years ... that, and some damn fine al pastor,” wrote one of the fund’s contributors. Said another, “He could turn any bad day into a great day with just a short conversation.”

“Tomas was a true pioneer of the Seattle food truck scene,” Seattle Food Truck director Jonathan Amato tells Eater Seattle. “Words can’t express the impact this man had on our community. But seeing all the love, support, and beautiful memories his customers have shown over the last two days is a testament to who he is, and how he treated those around him.”

Lopez is survived by his wife Antonia Zamorano and their five children.