Antique Taco reopened for business after vandals struck. Credit: Chicago Reader/Ashley Mizuo

A copper thief knocked out power and shut down Antique Taco’s Bridgeport location for one of its busiest weekends of the year, but the restaurant has since reopened.

At 12:45 AM last Friday, a man climbed onto the roof of the building and cut the restaurant’s power lines, said manager Jacqueline Brody. Two people passing by saw the man and called the police.

Two of the copper wires that were cut.Credit: Chicago Reader/Ashley Mizuo

The man fled and nothing was stolen, and the police suspect that he was trying  to steal the taco stand’s copper wiring. Workers found two pieces of the cut wires.

Antique Taco Bridgeport announced the vandalism on Facebook and Instagram, where hundreds of customers expressed concern. The restaurant’s owners said the crime was “very upsetting on many levels” but said they had been working around the clock, with the help of police, to reopen.

The restaurant lost all of the food and prepared drinks it had on hand. It did replace the electrical wires with noncopper materials.

“It was costly,” said Brody. “It’s going to hurt any business to be closed on a day that they would usually be open, especially their busiest days.”

The restaurant, which opened in July 2016, is owned by Rick and Ashley Ortiz. It is one of three locations in the city.

“They really put their heart and soul into this business,” Brody said. “I think we felt for them and really just wanted to be there for them and and be there for the customers and the community.”

“I’m sorry to hear this,” wrote one Instagram user. “Please know that the non-vandals in the neighborhood appreciate all you do for our community.”

The key reason the restaurant was able to bounce back so quickly, Brody noted, was employees’ hard work and local support.

“It really was a group effort, a team effort, we really had to pull together,” Brody said. “We’ve received so much support from the community. You can definitely be down when something happens to you, but, you know, they kind of lifted us up.”

Rick Ortiz grew up in Bridgeport and is not disillusioned by the incident, Brody said. The restaurant reopened Monday and it has been business as usual since then.

“We aren’t ones to have a defeated attitude,” she said.

The rustic taco joint had just begun its new extended summer hours when the vandal hit.  The restaurant still plans to hold its weekly Wheel Wednesday, when food trucks set up on its patio, starting April 11.