Taco Trio closes temporarily because of family illnesses

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The Taco Trio restaurant on Ocean Street in South Portland will be closed until early next year due to family illness.

The need to tend to sick family members has forced the temporary closure of the popular Taco Trio restaurant in South Portland, as well as the one across the Fore River in Portland.

Taco Trio, located in the Knightville neighborhood of South Portland, opened five years ago. Then, in 2014, the husband and wife team of Manuel Pena and Karen Rasmussen added a food truck, along with a second location in Portland last year.

A Facebook post on Oct. 27 announced the closure of both popular eateries, stating the reason as “major medical issues” that require Pena and Rasmussen to “focus all our time and energy on our family’s health.”

Rasmussen needs to tend to her father, who is ill and has been in and out of the hospital. Pena, meanwhile, is being treated for prostate cancer, which was diagnosed nearly two years ago.

“Looking at Manny coming into more chemo, we just thought, we can’t do this, staying open with him not there full time,” Rasmussen said in an interview last week.

While Pena’s prognosis is a positive one, with “the worst (being) over,” Rasmussen said, devoting attention to two businesses and his recovery, on top of her father’s illness, was just too much to handle.

“I just need to focus on Manny and my dad,” she said.

Pena and Rasmussen are looking at this time away as an opportunity not only to rest, but to get things accomplished at both restaurants that they otherwise don’t have time for.

“We’re going to use the time to fix other things,” she said.

Rasmussen said her family appreciates the concern that has been expressed by patrons, in person and in comments on Facebook.

“We don’t want people to worry. We’ll be fine,” Rasmussen said. “We just really need to take a break.”

The goal is to re-open both restaurants sometime in early 2017 and during the closure catering may be available, according to the Taco Trio Facebook post.

Alex Acquisto, Sun Media Wire

The Taco Trio restaurant on Ocean Street in South Portland will be closed until early next year due to family illness.