The piece of North Broadway where La Chinita has operated since 1976 has gotten a little lonely, says owner Eduardo Sebastian.
Its nearest restaurant neighbor, Doc’s Steakhouse, closed almost five years ago, and a couple of other businesses have gone, too. The area isn’t very active, especially at night, and evening sales have suffered, he said.
Sebastian, a former La Chinita kitchen manager and cook who took over the restaurant in 2012, decided it was time for a move. This summer, he plans to relocate the Mexican restaurant from its longtime home at 1451 N. Broadway to a newer, bigger building just a half of a mile to the south. Sometime in July, the restaurant will open in the former Burger King spot at 1051 N. Broadway that The Light Dry Bar and Grill vacated in December.
“It’s bigger, it’s newer and there’s more traffic,” Sebastian said. “And it’s surrounded by good restaurants like Little Saigon.”
Sebastian is working on remodeling the space now, both inside and out, and he hopes to be moved into it by July. His goal is to have only one week between closing the restaurant at 1451 N. Broadway and reopening it at 1051 N. Broadway.
He has decided, however, not to completely give up on the space where he’s worked since 1992.
Sebastian said his goal is to open another Mexican restaurant at 1451 N. Broadway, one that can be run by his sons, Eduardo Jr. and Abraham. The new restaurant, which he hopes to have open by October, will be called Los Guaches, and it will have a simple menu of authentic Mexican dishes, he said.
“I want to reach out to the Hispanic community and sell a different line of food there in that building,” he said.
The menu at La Chinita will not change. The restaurant was founded in 1976 by Don Norton and his wife, Marta, whose childhood nickname was the inspiration for the restaurant’s name. They retired in 2000 and sold the restaurant. Don Norton died in 2010.