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It’s the time of year when restaurants start announcing closings. The most recent—and possibly most surprising—loss came last week. Enrique Lozano, owner-chef of James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist El Charlatan Taqueria y Ramen-ya in Socorro, just outside El Paso, announced on Instagram that his restaurant is closed indefinitely. Such language is often employed to let the regulars down easy, and allow for a glimmer of hope. But a conversation with Lozano left me with no doubts about El Charlatan’s fate—the decision to close was a matter of when, not if.Lozano told me his restaurant was essentially a one-man operation. He handled the shift schedules, payroll, deliveries, and accounting, but admits his main focus was on cooking the food and taking care of his staff. In…
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