David Montes de Oca, the proprietor of Kenner favorite Taqueria Chilangos, died Tuesday morning. He was 36 years old.
A friend of the family, Rafael Saddy, tells The Times-Picayune that Montes de Oca was visiting with friends at the InTown Suites in Metairie when he collapsed. No cause of death has not been released at this time.
Montes de Oca grew up in Mexico and made his way to Houston where he worked in chain restaurants before eventually purchasing his own food truck. Following Hurricane Katrina, Montes de Oca brought his taco truck to the streets of Kenner finding and feeding construction workers. In 2007, Kenner passed a controversial ordinance that banned mobile restaurants and Montes de Oca was forced to shut down his business. He later reopened as a full scale restaurant called Taqueria Chilangos at 2723 Roosevelt Blvd.
Montes de Oca’s tacos garnered praise at the Top Taco competition in March, where Chilangos swept multiple categories.
Montes de Oca leaves behind his wife Lesly Garcia Montes de Oca, a 3-year-old son, two stepchildren, and his mother, Ana Garcia, according to The Advocate. The restaurant will be closed temporarily, however the family does plan to continue carrying on Montes de Oca’s legacy by running the restaurant.