La Morenita has gone quietly into the night. The fallout from the Austin Police Departments “Operation Meat Locker” was too much for the little taqueria to overcome.
For those uninformed, Operation Meat Locker was an undercover sting run by APD wherein plain clothes officers posed as black market brisket ops, bringing purportedly stolen meat to restaurants on the East side of Austin. They offered the “stolen” meat at deep discounts, enticing three local businesses: Sam’s Barbecue, Willie’s Barbecue and La Morenita into making purchases on what they thought was the black market.
It was a set-up. Right down the line. The sting lasted three months and APD made sure the grand total of the buys went over 5k to ensure felony status on the court cases.
Sam’s Barbecue and Willie’s Barbecue have both re-opened but La Morenita is closed and there is a for rent sign in the window.
We wrote about La Morenita earlier here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/8/1/Is-La-Morenita-Guilty-Of-Buying-Black-Market-Beef-In-Austin-Brisket-DustUp
and the origin of the whole sordid affair here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/7/28/Say-It-Aint-So-Sams-Barbecue-Hard-Day-On-The-East-Side-Of-Austin
They earned a zero star review for their breakfast tacos here http://chowpapi.com/?p=911