Ever since the chain Mexican restaurant Moe’s opened on Route 13, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, located two buildings away, has seen a decline in business.
“The competition has been getting thicker,” said co-manager Amanda Brown.
She and her co-manager Ramone Garcia hope a move to downtown after 13 years in Cortlandville will turn things around. The new location will be at 137 Main St., where the Tex-Mex restaurant Gringo’s Roadhouse recently closed.
Garcia said he had been looking for a new location for since Moe’s opened. Other options he considered were the vacant 51-53 Main St. building across from Brix Pubaria and the Tops plaza along Route 281 in Cortlandville.
One day, Garcia got a Gringo’s business card from one of his coworkers. He contacted the owners, Anthony Caruso and George Seibel, who also operate the Dark Horse Tavern, Hairy Tony’s and A Pizza and More on Main Street.
Caruso and Seibel were looking to sell Gringo’s and focus on a new restaurant in Homer. Since Garcia agreed to move in, the two owners have been helping with the remodeling, supplying the names of plumbers and air conditioner services and covering some of the remodeling costs.
Caruso and Seibel could not be reached for comment.
The inside of the new Garcia’s was gutted. It will be repainted and new kitchen equipment installed. Garcia and Brown are in talks to get new booths, tables and tabletops for the bar area.
“I have my own ideas how I want the restaurant to look,” Garcia said. The exterior will look the same for now, with new signs and outdoor seating available.
Gringo’s used to have karaoke and DJ nights over the weekends. Garcia and Brown plan on doing music only for special events.
Gringo’s had menu options such as burgers, steaks, chicken wings and wraps to go along with their Mexican options. Garcia’s will serve only Mexican dishes.
Adam Megivern, the executive director for the Cortland Downtown Partnership, said the relocation of a local business to downtown is an indicator of how healthy downtown is.
“Businesses are looking to move downtown to more better options,” Megivern said, mentioning how convenient it is for customers to walk around the downtown district.
The staff and menu will be the same as the old Garcia’s. The old location will remain open until the end of July, with the new location opening shortly after.