SAN ANTONIO — Bell Solloa used to walk Grayson Street most weekends to book and watch bands play at Taco Land, a legendary San Antonio nightclub.
Now when she walks the street, it's to visit the late owner, Ram Ayala’s, mosaic memorial on the wall of the former building.
“It came out great. Looking at his face and this image is so striking. You know, it’s him. And those sunglasses are also his trademark. There’s no one else who could wear a pair of black sunglasses like Ram,” said Solloa.
Solloa, along with many others who played music or booked bands at Taco Land, were instrumental in getting this memorial on the wall of the original building.
The building now hosts a new taco joint. They serve specialty tacos here. There’s no stage or door guy here like in the old days.
“Taco Land itself was an iconic little punk rock bar that manifested from a little restaurant. You know, owned by Ram Ayala. And Ram was again, also an iconic character in this town that embraced a type of music that probably the majority of bar owners would have shut their door on,” said Solloa.
Solloa spent countless nights in that club booking bands, but also as a fan of the music, and as a dear friend of Ram's. Ram and a coworker were murdered in the club in 2005. Their killer has been locked up since 2007.
“The night he was murdered was the end of not just his life, but of Taco Land. As it should have been. There was nobody that could replace Ram, or the place or anything like that,” said Solloa.
So, now it’s time for a new business to carry on Ram’s legacy.
“It was a place for people that didn’t have a home to call home. Of course we had to honor him and keep not just the mural but him. You know we want to incorporate his history into the future of this place,” said Velvet Taco General Manager Jacob Gonzalez.
Solloa is happy to know Ram’s memorial rests here in a place that embraces the past and the future.