DOWNEY - Hoping to capitalize on an expanding downtown district, changing demographics and altering consumer needs, La Barca Restaurant, a popular, authentic Mexican eatery based in Los Angeles, will open a second location in Downey this coming spring.After nearly four months of negotiations, Guillermo Padilla, owner of La Barca Restaurant, signed a lease agreement this month with Tatti Properties to acquire the vacant building on the corner of Paramount Boulevard and Third Street, which formerly housed Szechwan Chinese Restaurant, and later Portofino's. "He's always wanted a restaurant in Downey - this is where he lives," said William Torres, real estate broker for Padilla, who moved to Downey more than 15 years ago. "When Portofino's closed, Guillermo mentioned that he wanted the building…but due to the economy and financing, we ended up leasing the building with an option to buy. We came to terms, finalized the lease…and it's beneficial to both parties." Established 35 years ago in Los Angeles by Padilla's father, currently, La Barca, located just up the street from the University of Southern California, is a popular destination, known for its appetizing entrees and delicious beverages. "It's the number one restaurant in downtown Los Angeles," said Torres, who works for All American Home Realty in Downey. "It has authentic Mexican food…the ambience is amazing, it reminds you of the warmth of Mexico. Once we're finished with development here - this project will be something Downey residents will be proud of." The nearly 7200-sqaure-foot building will be renovated from the inside out over the next several months as Padilla hopes to open an establishment that will complement the city's new updated downtown vision, Torres said. "He wanted to do something that would be beautiful - not a cheap facelift," said Torres. "We want the city and the residents to be happy with the improvements. The outside will have a rustic Mexican look and on the inside there will be new plumbing, a new kitchen, the windows will also be changed and we're going to move the door entrance from the side to the corner." Torres also said the new restaurant will feature patio dining and regular entertainment for patrons. "Guillermo wants this to be a beautification for the city - something everyone will appreciate," said Torres. "It will probably open in April or May…we hope that it will motivate more people to invest in Downey."
********** Published: December 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 37