January 28, 2014
On June 29, 2012, a fast-moving storm tore the roof off the brick building at 119 W. 5th St. in Marysville, causing it to partially collapse. The storm began a lengthy odyssey for the owners of the Fiesta Grande restaurant, a well-loved neighborhood institution that was on the first floor of that building.
“We knew it was going to take time to reopen, but not as much as it did,” said Francisco Arevalo, the restaurant’s general manager. His sister, Rosie, and a silent partner own the restaurant.
They were delayed by “a fight with the insurance company; then the business-interruption insurance only covered certain things,” said Dennis Schulze, a Marysville attorney who works with Fiesta Grande’s owners. “Then, they needed to find another location” because the cost to rebuild on the original site would have been exorbitant.
Fiesta Grande’s doors finally reopened on Dec. 18 — roughly 18 months after the storm shut them — at 109 N. Main St., in the former Locker Room Bar.
Mr. Arevalo said he never doubted that the restaurant would reopen.
“We felt broken-hearted after so many years of hard work. For a lot of people, this would be just another job, but for me and my family, (Fiesta Grande) was our life,” he said.
The commitment was just as strong with respect to the restaurant’s location. Leaving downtown Marysville “didn’t even cross our mind,” Arevalo said. “We thought we’d be better off staying downtown because we not only feel like part of the community, but because we see the downtown still has a lot of potential to grow.”
It took a lot of work to reopen the doors.
The Union County Development Fund, a private group that buys and rehabilitates properties, sold the owners the building at 109 N. Main. It needed a lot of work, including new plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling systems.
The space still has the original tin ceiling and an antique cooler in the bar area. “It’s the first thing you see as soon as you walk in the front door, and a lot of our older customers remember it from coming in here when they were little,” Arevalo said.
The new Fiesta Grande has an open concept, but with a capacity of 99 is a lot smaller than its previous space.
Fiesta Grande’s reopening had been much anticipated in Marysville.
“Most restaurants, if they had to shut down for a month, they’d be dead,” Schulze said. “This one, a year and a half later, they had people lined up for their opening, before they had officially announced they were open. People have been knocking on the windows trying to get news on what was happening.
“It’s so great. The food is very good, but I think people love them because of the combination of attention to service, the food and because it’s a fun place to be.”
The restaurant is expected to be around for a long time, but a move back to its 5th Street location is envisioned.
“People have said they are as glad we are back as we are, but probably in the back of their mind, they’re wondering what our plans are for the empty lot where we used to be,” Arevalo said. “ We are planning to rebuild and reopen Fiesta Grande there, hopefully in the near future.”
If that happens, the Main Street space will be rented to another restaurant.
“We’re part of the community here,” Arevalo said. “We‘re not going anywhere. The only place to go is forward.”
Off the menu
• Colorado-based Moe’s Original Bar B Que will soon open a restaurant at 128 Broadway E. in Granville. It’s owned by Kara Gallagher and Greg Tracey and is set to open in March.
• Hot Heads Burritos plans to open a restaurant this spring at 2051 W. Henderson Rd. in a former Starbucks.
• Tom + Chee, a Cincinnati-based grilled-cheese and tomato-soup chain, plans to open two restaurants in central Ohio soon, at 10709 Blacklick Eastern Rd., Suite 300, in Pickerington (near the Marcus Theater), and at 1840 Hilliard-Rome Rd. on the Far West Side. The company has been featured on Man v. Food and Amazing Eats. The company said the restaurants will open in March or April.
Brewsky’s, 4510 Kenny Rd., has closed.
Dispatch restaurant columnist Denise Trowbridge can be reached at email@example.com.