Mexican restaurant to open in former Sambi's building

DOWNEY - A second La Barca Mexican restaurant will open in the former Sambi's building on Firestone Boulevard, possibly as early as this year, city officials said. The newest La Barca is not related to the La Barca Grill and Cantina located at Paramount Boulevard and 3rd Street, said David Blumenthal, senior planner for the city of Downey.

The new restaurant will feature an outdoor patio fronting Firestone Boulevard. Owner Francisco Javier Garcia also plans to expand the banquet room, reconfigure the dining room and bring the facility's restrooms to current standards.

Renovation to the building's exterior will give it an "eclectic Spanish style," according to a city planning report. Plans call for "white smooth stucco on the facades, brick veneer on the planter walls, tile roof, exposed rafters and new trellis and skylights on the cupola."

With 48 workers on staff, the restaurant will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. No live entertainment is currently planned.

The Downey Planning Commission approved the plans last week but added conditions of approval, including the hiring of a parking lot security guard. The commission also stipulated minimum lighting requirements and mandated that the restaurant keep its doors closed at all times to minimize noise to nearby residents.

La Barca, which has five other locations throughout the Los Angeles area, could open as early as December, Blumenthal said.

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