Tattoos for Tacos...for Life

Tattoos for Tacos...for Life

Food & Drink

Tattoos for Tacos...for Life


By Cari Martens

San Francisco area residents who are willing to turn over part of their body as a sort of advertisement for Casa Sanchez Restaurant are being rewarded with free lunch at the restaurant for the rest of their lives.

Or at least as long as the restaurant lives.

Photo: Stu Woo/WSJ

The Mission District Mexican restaurant first tried the promotion in 1999 and amid a flurry of media coverage, 50 people took Casa Sanchez up on the offer (which was capped at 50). Martha Sanchez credits the city’s characters for the success of the promotion. ‘If it wasn’t in San Francisco, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off,’ she told Stu Woo of the Wall Street Journal. Ms Sanchez is one of the dozen family members who run the business.

Now, a decade later, Casa Sanchez has revived the offer, hoping to give a boost to the community in difficult economic times. ‘It’s called the ‘stimulus special,’ ‘ Ms Sanchez says.

The tattoo deal is pretty straightforward. The customer pays for the tattoo which depicts Jimmy the Cornman astride a giant rocket-like ear of corn. The tat costs about $100. It must be at least 4 square inches and can adorn any part of the body. This entitles the inked customer to one free meal per day—anything off the menu plus a drink, for life.

Some of the original tattooed customers from ’99 still show up for their free meals, but many have moved away or perhaps got tired a daily taco or enchilada. One who comes in more often these days is Makena Echeverria, an unemployed construction worker. He makes an 80-minute bus ride twice a week to Casa Sanchez, reports Woo in the WSJ story. Echeverria sports the tattoo on his right hip.

And he has a daily free meal in his hip pocket for as long as he and the restaurant live.

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