Brothers and business partners Miguel and Ramon Villasenor have announced plans to open a third Los Portales Taqueria next month on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington.
Their original location is at 912 S. Kerr Ave. and the partners opened a second location at 39 Van Campen Blvd. in September 2019. The Villasenors also own Los Portales Supermarket on South Kerr Avenue and Tequila Comida & Cantina in Monkey Junction.
Miguel Villasenor said he and Ramon had been seeking another location for a taco bar that would provide quick access to customers from neighborhoods and businesses off of Carolina Beach Road.
Miguel Villasenor said that when J. Russo’s Eatery went up for sale at the end of last year, they jumped at the opportunity to purchase the restaurant and take over the lease for the space at 3536 Carolina Beach Road in the newly renovated Cedar Plaza.
“The fast-casual concept of the taqueria allows customers to get their food within minutes,” Miguel Villasenor said. “But if they only have 30 minutes for lunch, they don’t have time to drive across town.”
For that reason, the Villasenors said they plan to continue to seek additional locations toward Carolina Beach and Porters Neck.
“For the convenience of our customers we plan to continue to expand into other parts of town,” Miguel Villasenor said.
The taco bar will be set up just like the others, with counter service and a salsa bar, and now each of the locations will have a uniform look in terms of the decor, modeled after the second location on Van Campen Boulevard. The original location was closed briefly over the holidays for cosmetic updates and once the third location opens, they will all have a very similar look.
“As we continue to expand we wanted the brand to be as similar as possible at each location,” Miguel Villasenor said.
MIguel Villasenor said business at the restaurants has remained fairly steady throughout the pandemic, and the steady flow of business at the supermarket had helped to offset some of the losses on the restaurant side.
He said the pandemic has actually helped Tequila Comida because he believes that many people were seeking new restaurants from which to order takeout and placed orders for the first time. He said while takeout has remained steady, many of these new customers are coming to the restaurant to eat on the patio or dine in.
“Overall we’ve done well enough throughout the pandemic to allow us to continue to expand,” Miguel Villasenor said.
The new location will be able to seat about 50 guests inside under the current restrictions, and will offer patio seating as well. Pending final inspections, the Villasenors hope to open by the end of February.
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