A new Mexican restaurant opened up next door about a month ago called Adventura. Situated in a small storefront next to the neighborhood delimart. It replaced an Indian eatery that went out of business about a year and a half ago when the economy’s slide hit full-stride.
We were pretty surprised that anyone would try to start a business in this economic climate, let alone a restaurant. Food service is one of the sectors that has been especially hard hit as folks are pinching their pennies and going-out is becoming a rare entry on the budgetary menu.
If this wasn’t Sisyphean enough, our street is being torn up to widen it and put in sidewalks.
Trenches have been dug, steel plates laid over the holes, heavy machinery is crammed into business parking lots, caution tape flutters everywhere. Up and down the road signs are up noting “Businesses open during construction” which roughly translates into “It’s a pain in the ass to get to, and if you dare, good luck on parking”. In an ironic aside there is an electronic reader-board asking drivers to “consider other routes” approximately 2 blocks after you’ve already committed to said route.
But I digress…
The little eatery, quite obviously family owned and operated, opened at a bad time economically and neighborhoodally. Hand-drawn signs in the window announce the specials and a carefully stickered sandwich-board stands as close to the torn-up street as it can. A stack of folded flyers on the counter of the next-door delimart trumpets a free dessert when you bring it in. Freshly painted in creme and dusty yellows, bright, shiny gold chickens line the top of the three-quarter wall between the prep area and the seating area. Flower sconces are showing up above the booths in ones and twos every week and we’re told that artwork will begin appearing as well. The owner, Heron, is a small man, thin and balding, a fringe of hair gray and slightly wild. This, along with his painfully polite and overly helpful demeanor strongly reminds me of the waiter in Fawlty Towers.
We went there the first weekend it was open and, for the entire meal we were the only customers in the place. Since then, we’ve made it a Saturday night “thing” and the last few times we’ve had the pleasure of seeing other folks there too.
Originally, our Saturday Night Thing was an excuse for a cheap date night out while supporting a local small business, but the last few times my parents have come along and it looks like they’ll be a regular part of the SNT.
The food is really what’s making this an ongoing Thing. For the most part it’s a pretty standard Mexican restaurant menu; burritos, enchiladas, chalupas, maybe medudo now and again. A wide, varied, and solid menu. They aren’t reinventing the wheel. What they are doing, though, is doing it really well. When the rice and refried beans catch my attention they gotta be doing something right. The rice is nice and light and well spiced and you have 2 other beanie choices besides the ol’ refried standby. The Chili Relleno comes highly recommended.
We’ll see how it goes…