Luis Reyes Rojas, owner of Pineda Tacos Plus, said he’s seen it all after nearly 10 years in business on Lake Street. But his latest surprise came when he noticed people coming in and grabbing the keys to the women’s restroom more frequently than usual.
“‘Have you seen the video they made in your bathroom?’ they asked me,” Reyes said. “Then they showed it to me. I don’t even have TikTok.”
One of the Mexican restaurant’s regular clients, Chloe Guild, stopped in on a Friday and, tickled by the contrast of the brightly yellow restaurant walls and its gray bathroom, recorded a video of the women’s bathroom. She posted a short clip of the restaurant and bathroom on TikTok later that weekend along with a self-produced song.
About a week later, the viral video has been viewed more than 3 million times.
“Nothing can prepare you for what the bathroom looks like,” a computerized voice narrates at the start of Guild’s video as mariachi music plays in the background.
Patrons are shown eating in the dining room festooned with colorful decorations hanging from the ceiling and walls. The video pans around the room and then Guild enters the women’s restroom, a gray-tiled, gray-painted space featuring life-affirming quotes stenciled on a wall opposite the toilet.
“There’s a Millennial grey looking restroom in a Mexican restaurant,” Guild’s highly manipulated voice sings a few times. “It’s giving sponsored by Hobby Lobby. It’s giving, it’s giving house flipping/renovated kitchen looking. It’s giving airport.”
The unexpected twist in the restaurant’s decor had some commenters on Guild’s TikTok video wondering if the restroom really is in the Mexican restaurant, located at 330 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis.
Guild, 23, told Sahan Journal she and her friends have always been fans of the unique bathroom.
“It’s always a conversation every week—like the bathroom is so like, beautiful, and it just is like a different aesthetic than the rest of the rest of the restaurant,” Guild said.
Guild’s video gained additional traction when it was shared in a Racket article Thursday.
Guild’s video has been liked about 768,000 times and has attracted about 10,000 comments as of late Friday afternoon.
“did (sic) YOU just make THE SONG OF THE SUMMER???” wrote one viewer.
“We did not expect the bathroom OR the song,” another wrote.
“When you least expect it is when you are going to make a hit—even she didn’t expect it to go that viral,” Reyes said.
The restroom’s look was intentional, but not by Reyes’ doing. The COVID pandemic and the civil unrest following Minneapolis police’s murder of George Floyd in 2020 had an unexpected hand in the restroom’s birth.
Pineda Tacos Plus expanded its footprint after a neighboring business left its space due to looting during the unrest. Reyes’ restaurant sustained little damage, so he took over the neighboring space and added a new bathroom.
“My wife told me, ‘Give me a chance to build that bathroom how I want to’,” Reyes said.
Reyes’ wife, Patricia Lopez Pineda, who was unavailable for comment, is a fan of interior design and decor. She wanted to offer clients a better restroom experience than most other places. She also worked on the men’s restroom, but Reyes said they gave up on it after people repeatedly stole the art and graffitied the walls.
The women’s restroom was spared such vandalism, and became the attention grabber of the two restrooms.
A week into her newfound TikTok fame, Guild said her only hope is that more people in the Twin Cities give Pineda Tacos Plus a try. In fact, after going viral she created a follow-up video highlighting the restaurant for viewers.
“I hope that they can have more people go and visit their restaurant, because every time I’ve been there, it’s just been a 10 out of 10 experience,” Guild said.
Reyes finds it funny that a bathroom video is driving his sales, but he’s not complaining.
“It’s free publicity, and thanks to God since that day that she came,” he said, “many Americans have come—even if it’s just to see the bathroom.”