The owners of a popular Mexican restaurant in Hemet that was shuttered in Dec. 2016 after a blaze destroyed it announced on Friday the restaurant’s reopening date at a new location.
El Patron Mexican Grill & Entertainment will open at 11 a.m. at 2524 E Florida Ave in East Hemet on Wednesday, Oct. 11, and owner Abel Sanchez is very pleased.
“It was very hard to get to where we are now,” Sanchez said. “We had to sell my house, we had to refinance my truck — we had to do many things to get to where we are now, but now we just feel great. We feel grateful to God for giving us another opportunity to open it.”
Sanchez said he’s excited about the new space, which was formerly occupied by the Anchor Bar Club Restaurant. He said the space is bigger than the last location and boasts a large patio that can host somewhere between 300-400 guests at a time.
And while the old building is gone, it’s not forgotten. In the dining room area there will be a large collage filled with pictures of guests during bygone celebrations and birthday parties.
“I think that it’s beautiful,” Sanchez said. “A lot of people when they come in and see it they’re going to be excited that their picture is there.”
Sanchez said that on the first day the restaurant is open, it will be business as usual. The restaurant’s main focus is going to be cooking up the food that people love and lots of it. He said there won’t be a grand opening celebration until further in the future.
The original 3,000 square foot restaurant went ablaze in the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2016. It was drizzling and firefighters mounted an aggressive attack, but it was to no avail — the blaze continued to grow. Much of what had been inside the restaurant was transformed to charred rubble.
Sanchez said he was ready to give up in the weeks that followed the fire, but family members and guests who loved the restaurant gave him pause from doing that.
“The most important thing that convinced me to come back, it was the whole community,” Sanchez said. “Just to see the appreciation — how many comments and how they offered me their help in the past. And honestly I was like, ‘you know what, they’re going to really miss what we used to do so we gotta somehow fight for that and bring it back.'”