One of San Marcos’ favorite breakfast taco joints continues to thrive within the community despite legal battles over its name.
Loli’s Café, previously named Lolita’s, is a blue and red breakfast taco hut responsible for serving handcrafted tacos to the community. The shop is owned by Marta Carillo, mother, business owner and resident of San Marcos all her life.
Carillo began working at Loli’s when she was 21 years old and the location operated as a chili dog stand under another name. Carillo worked at the stand for 10 years before becoming the owner and transforming it into a breakfast and lunch stop which pours out tacos from egg and cheese to family recipes like the carne guisada and the barbacoa lunch tacos.
Before owning her own business, Carillo not only worked the chili dog stand, but cleaned rooms for hotels and raised her daughter, Marta Delores, or “Lolita.” When she bought the restaurant, she named it after her daughter; now the name has been changed and Carillo said she is heartbroken.
“This place is my baby,” Carillo said. “(Lolita) is my daughter, but I raised this place too.”
Late last year, Carillo received letters from the owner of a California restaurant. The letters asked her to change the name of her store, as the owner had it under a federal trademark.
Carillo sought the help of two Austin attorneys. Her attorneys, Rudy Colmenero and Chi Reece, informed her the out-of-state restaurateur had full rights to use the name Lolita’s for restaurants serving similar foods and she must comply.
“They can have the exclusive nationally and in commerce for the goods and services registered (the name),” Reece said. “They also have the right to take lawsuits to federal court.”
The three worked together to adjust the name without hurting Carillo’s long-standing business and relationship with the community.
After much deliberation, they determined Loli’s Café was a legal and fair solution. The restaurant has changed its name on its legal documents, checks and its menus and signs in recent months.
According to Carillo and her lawyers, the other brand is not pleased with the name “Loli’s,” and has argued against its use. The three however, say they are within their legal rights to use the new name and maintain the business.
Loli’s has maintained its business of serving quick meals to customers both new and old. One regular customer and Kyle resident, Marshall Brummel, said he failed to notice the change in signage for the first few months of its installment, but said business has not changed a bit, and he will continue to enjoy eating Loli’s breakfasts.
“I go there on a regular basis,” Brummel said. “I’ve been going off and on for ten years; it’s good and people are friendly.”
Brummel remembers when the shop was a chili dog stand and has asked Carillo about the possibility of serving them again. Brummel said he remembers Carillo not wanting to serve anything else out of respect to the past owners, whose living relatives have continued the business elsewhere.
“Everyone has been really supportive of the name, my daughter took it well and told me it wouldn’t matter,” Carillo said.
Loli’s has been around for a decade and a half, and Carillo does not plan on moving it any time soon.