After suffering a devastating fire nine months ago, Latin American Grill in Miami Lakes is getting ready for its comeback.
“The place is going to look spectacular,” said majority owner Reny Gonzalez.
The restaurant in the Park Centre Shops plans to reopen mid-to-late September.
“It’s the same layout, but all of the equipment is state of the art,” Gonzalez said.
The local landmark that also had a busy ventanita, or takeout window, anchors the back of the shopping center at 15342 NW 79th Court, on the west side of town.
It is marking its 26th year in business.
“It will still have a family feel,” Gonzalez said of the space where 40 employees, some working there since the 1997 debut, served regulars and welcomed newcomers too.
“We have 96% of the employees coming back,” he said.
While the Miami Lakes location was shuttered, some staff were able to work at a second Latin American Grill in Pembroke Pines that Gonzalez owns with his partners.
Miami Lakes is the original location that, after the rebuild, Gonzalez says will be the design model for the partners’ plans to expand to other South Florida cities.
Meanwhile, it’s been a tough road that began on Nov. 19, when Gonzalez was awakened at 3:30 a.m.
The caller said a blaze began in the fryer.
“The suppression system didn’t go off on time,” Gonzalez said. No one was injured. Behind windows covered with paper, the blackened interior was torn out. At one point, large chunks of broken up concrete from inside were piled on the sidewalk. The restaurant boasts new plumbing, electrical systems and a new grease trap after construction that began in March.
“It will be a next generation Latin American restaurant,” Gonzalez said. “Same menu, affordable prices.”
He feels hopeful that the restaurant will bounce back, with the help of loyal patrons.
“We want to give a shoutout to the Miami Lakes customers for their unwavering support,” Gonzalez said. “We wouldn’t be where we are at without the support of the community.”
Customers seem to really miss their hang-out, he said.
“They continue to pass by to ask when we are going to open,” he said.
With new housing going up in the area, Gonzalez expects there will be new faces at the counter, too.
“Let me tell you, Miami Lakes is continuing to grow,” Gonzalez said, ticking off new apartments coming to South Pointe, the golf course and west of I-75.
And he’ll be ready, to make sure they are fed.
“We can’t wait to show you the new and improved Latin American Grill,” Gonzalez said.
Watch the website for the reopening date: https://latinamericangrill.net.