Those who dine in Old Town Square might have noticed that the “La Chinita” sign that previously hung over the restaurant next door to Hana Cafe is gone, though there’s still a Mexican restaurant operating inside.
The story behind the change is long, complicated and a little tense.
In November 2015, La Chinita owner Eduardo Sebasitan and his brother-in-law, Alejandro Ziad, teamed up to open a second La Chinita in Old Town Square. The original, at 1451 N. Broadway, has been in business for more than 40 years.
But the two could not agree on how to run the Old Town restaurant, so in January, they agreed to go their separate ways. Sebastian kept the original restaurant and left the Old Town restaurant to Ziad.
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Their agreement, Sebastian said, was that Ziad would change the Old Town restaurant’s name and menu to avoid confusion. But so far, that hasn’t really happened, he said.
“It’s been confusing with my customers who have have dinner or lunch at Old Town, and sometimes they complain about things on my Facebook page,” he said.
This week, Sebastian put an all-caps post on his restaurant’s Facebook page that read:
“In November of 2015, La Chinita Mexican Restaurant opened a second store in Old Town. In January of 2017, La Chinita Mexican Restaurant closed this store and a new owner reopened a different restaurant at the same location. This restaurant is not in any way associated With La Chinita Mexican Restaurant. There is only one ‘La Chinita Mexican Restaurant’ and it is located at 1451 N. Broadway.”
Ziad said he has changed the name of the restaurant. It’s now La Chinita Old Town Mexican Restaurant. And he says he plans to change the menu but not right away.
Sebastian said he didn’t want to deal with the matter in court, so he decided to deal with it on Facebook.
And both owners say that customers who dine in the other restaurant insist that the food is better in theirs.