THE LUNCH HOUR in South Park’s business district brings a few customers to Taqueria Muy Macho, a colorful taco truck parked at the corner of Dallas Avenue South and 14th Avenue South.

I have a soft spot for this block in one of Seattle’s most diverse and eclectic neighborhoods. The community has been through a lot in the past decade. First was the demolition of the aging drawbridge across the Duwamish River before a new one could be built, then the four-year construction of a new span. Next came the effects of gentrification fueled by Seattle’s booming economy. Now, the pandemic.

Taqueria Muy Macho is only a food truck now, but it used to be a brick-and-mortar restaurant right around the corner for many years. Owner Judith Herrera says rising rents forced her to leave the space and put her kitchen on wheels.

Even faced with all those challenges, Herrera stays optimistic and has high hopes for the future. “My dream is to have a chain of restaurants,” she says. “I always dreamed about having my own business since I was a little girl.”