Boston, MA - When Mike Kamio Yoshiomi opened his first location of Anna’s Taqueria in Coolidge Corner in 1995, Mexican restaurants in the greater Boston area were nowhere near as populous. Often confined confined to suburban strip malls, the few in the immediate vicinity were a zealously guarded secret revealed only under extreme duress.
Kamio changed all that. Simply by offering substantial food of invariably top notch quality at meager prices. Frequently for free.
Kamio will be revered for establishing a business model of cheap, quick service food that blossomed into a chain of eight different locations throughout Somerville, Cambridge and Boston. Forget fast casual—bad casual was barely even a blip on the radar in 1995.
Boston now boasts of well over 70 different destinations for Mexican food, ranging from virtually unrecognizable fusion “experiences” to the no frills, counter service dining Anna’s Taqueria was renowned for. But even his competitors are now keeping his memory in their hearts as the celebrate the life of Mike Kamio, who passed away suddenly at his Wellesley home on February 8th.
“We are saddened to share the passing of Mike Kamio, owner and founder of Anna’s Taqueria. Mike was defined by his deep love of family and friends, his selflessness, never-ending thoughtfulness, and willingness to be of service to all who needed his help. All locations of Anna’s Taqueria will be closed on Friday, February 15th as the team comes together to honor Mike’s memory; on Saturday all locations will open with regular business hours. Under the leadership of Mike’s wife and longtime business partner, Betsy Kamio, the team behind Anna’s looks forward to a long future as a beloved Boston institution for years to come,” a statement from the restaurant chain read on February 12th.
Kamio was as well known for his numerous charitable and civic associations, as well as a sense of humor perhaps best emphasized by this quote from a 2015 interview he gave to Eater:
“We're reasonably priced, we're fresh, and we have quick service. Sometimes it's so quick it's almost rude. But we're working on that.”
The world might possibly benefit from Kamio’s definition of rudeness.
Kamio’s family requests In lieu of flowers, to consider a donation to The Southern Poverty Law Center, Casa Myrna in Boston, the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles, or the charity of your choice.