By Patrick Whitehurst
Tay’s Brew House and Tay’s BBQ, located at 16461 S Houghton Road in Vail, closed their doors this month, but will reopen again.
Original owner Natasha Herzig recently sold the popular businesses to move with her family to Texas. The Brew House and BBQ, with a staff of ten, is named for their daughter, Taylinn, or Tay for short.
The businesses closed January 16, Herzig said, and will remain closed while the new owners prepare to take over the operation. The business will open with the same name, Herzig said.
The doors may reopen for business around the beginning of February.
“We’re a law enforcement family and this is a law enforcement business,” Herzig said. “I had always wanted to be a business owner and when we moved here, I saw a need in the community. People come to Tay’s to eat their food and socialize. You go there to see your neighbors and hang out with your friends. Now more than ever, in these times, it’s really important because it’s being taken away from us.”
Edward Buster, President of the Corona de Tucson Community Alliance, said the community was “saddened” to see the Herzig family depart, but hoped the new owners would continue their legacy.
“The Herzig family, as local entrepreneurs, brought one of the best small businesses to Corona de Tucson over two years ago,” Buster said. “They have not only been successful in running this wonderful small business but have been icons and community leaders in our little hamlet. They employed local staff, contributed greatly to our culture. During the hard times, they gave back to this community in countless and generous ways. We sincerely wish the Herzig family well onto their next chapter of their life, and thank them for their friendship, benevolence, and kindness.”
Herzig said she plans to go into business again when the family settles in the Lone Star State.
“I intend to do what I did here and keep building businesses, keep blessing the communities I go in, and being blessed back by the customers that become friends,” she said.
When the pandemic closed indoor and outdoor dining in the county, Herzig said her faithful customers stepped up to help the family stay in business.
“They kept us going through that. Fortunately, since we are an all-outdoor establishment, I have been able to serve my customers with little to no hit regarding how many I can fit because we are not indoors,” she said.
“As a restaurant owner I didn’t need a pandemic to tell me to make sure I didn’t sicken the public. We already have to abide by very strict codes. I was already doing all those things. With that being said, they just added some small regulations that really just hindered small businesses.”
By holding Republican rallies at the restaurant, Herzig said she was able to get through some of the tougher times brought on by the worldwide pandemic. Besides the coronavirus issue, Herzig said recent threats against her political stance also threatened her business.
Herzig has been an outspoken member of the community when it comes to the rights of small business owners and the rights of her employees.
She also served as a Small Business Commissioner for District 4 and was nominated by The Vail Chamber of Commerce for Entrepreneur of the Year.
“I didn’t have to furlough or let go of any employees because we kept going,” Herzig said. “We kept going thanks to my customer base and that support that we had.”
One of Herzig’s favorite memories of her businesses occurred during the first wave of the pandemic.
“We originally planned to take our employees to Hawaii,” she said. “The trip got cancelled because of the pandemic. I thought what is the most patriotic thing we can do? Because we are patriots first and foremost over at Tay’s, and we did a road trip all the way through the states and we visited a lot of landmarks and learned a lot of the history of America. We ended up at Mount Rushmore. Every state line that we crossed we brought the Back the Blue flag and the American flag, and we were able to be on this patriotic journey with my employees.
Herzig said her employees were like members of her own family.
“I absolutely could not have had the success I’ve had without a single one of them and the integral part they played in allowing me to produce the product, whether it was food, a drink, or the customer service that was offered,” she said. “I owe all of my success to the team and the family that we built, as well as the customers.”
Journalist Patrick Whitehurst is the author of the books, “Williams,” Grand Canyon’s Tusayan Village,” “The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History,” “Haunted Monterey County,” and the forthcoming book, “Murder and Mayhem in Tucson.”