Location, location, location.
Its supposed to be the No. 1 thing to consider when opening a business. But one mans ideal location is anothers imperfection.
The Mexican restaurant at Coliseum Boulevard and Lake Avenue was until recently a Los Lomas. Owner Martin Quintana wasnt happy with the location, and in mid-December, he opened Dos Margaritas on North Clinton Street, just south of Coliseum.
The former Los Lomas location, however, was perfect for Galdino Zenil, whose El Conquistador opened Friday at 11 a.m.
(To celebrate the opening, Zenil is offering 10 percent off all orders through Thursday.)
Zenil has lived in Fort Wayne for about a month, moving from Wabash. This is his third Mexican restaurant, after selling one in Napanee and leasing out another in Rochester.
Its because my kids go to college here, he says of why he wanted to have a restaurant in Fort Wayne. They dont have time to see me. They work and go to school.
Zenil says he hopes to bring his special brand of friendliness to the restaurant.
I like to have a contact with the people, he says. I love having lots of friends and talking. I like to go table to table to see what they like because a lot of times, you dont know who is the owner. I try to stay close to the people.
A sign on the wall at El Conquistador says the building holds 85 people; Dos Margaritas holds a few more: 280 to 285, Quintana says.
The building – which was most recently a buffet and perhaps most famously Ryans Steakhouse – is enormous, with so many twists and turns you know you will have to ask a server where to find the bathroom.
Aside from the size, what stands out at Dos Margaritas is its décor. Quintana says a dozen people worked on painting the murals and hand-carved images on the walls, benches and chairs. Quintana points out some of his favorite, added-at-the-last-minute details: Lets get a rooster in there pulling a little kid in here, and this guy here, hes drunk on the corner. Indeed, the poor drunken guy is leaning against a street sign with a bottle of beer in his hand another in his back pocket (for later?).
One section of Dos Margaritas isnt yet open, but Quintana is hoping to have it up and running within the month. A walk-up taco bar off a short hallway will have a set-up is similar to Chipotle (which happens to be next door) and Qdoba (around the corner). Patrons will choose among options such as tacos, tortas and quesadillas; pick your meat; pick your toppings; receive your meal all wrapped up in foil for easy to-go service, or stay and eat in the small dining area. The area has its own entrance.
Another option for catering
The Shiloh banquet hall is a huge barnlike building on Carroll Road that seems to pop up out of nowhere. Its been around since the 70s but only recently added the Savory Parrot to its repertoire. The Savory Parrot – named for owner Jeff Parrot – is a catering business that kicked off in October and, general manager Dana Merle says, does things a little differently than a typical catering company.
At the Savory Parrot, its about family-style; instead of individual portions, you get platters that serve 12 to 35 people.
The Savory Parrot is priced where, if somebody were to pencil it out, they would spend (more) making it at home in their kitchen as they would buying it from us.
Take the salads. For $34, the buyer would get five different salads – enough to feed 25 people. That breaks down to $1.13 a person. The priciest, if you can even call it that, menu option breaks down to $1.87 a person, for the traditional home-style option – $56 for five entrée choices, enough to feed 25 people.