Upgrades, delays mean PO restaurant won’t open until March

Regulars of the popular Puerto Vallarta restaurant in Port Orchard will have to wait a bit longer before they can order their favorite Mexican dish or a frosty margarita.

Target date for the reopening of the fire-damage establishment has been delayed again to March 1, owner Sergio Andrade said. “The scope of [repairs] we are doing expanded beyond what we originally thought. We are making significant changes. That pushed us back on time,” Andrade said.

In the late-night hours of Jan. 22, 2022, security camera footage shows that an after-hours fire broke out. No one was in the building. The blaze – which caused an estimated $1 million of damage – was limited to the kitchen, but the dining area suffered smoke damage, Andrade said.

Initially, the owner estimated the restaurant would be closed until last July. Later, that was pushed to December. Last week, the owner said March.

The delays were caused by difficulties in getting replacement equipment due to supply chain and weather-related problems, the owner noted, adding kitchen equipment ordered months ago is finally arriving.

Another reason for moving back the reopening was that mid-project Andrade decided to make upgrades not related to the fire. “Things came up in the middle of the project, and we were thinking – while we are here, we might as well fix the things we were having issues with.”

Upgrades have included: redesigning the outdoor seating area, removing some walls in the dining room to open up space, installation of skylights, and adding brick and stone finishes inside. Workers painted the interior and exterior with brighter colors, reroofed the building, and improved the heating and cooling system, he said.

Andrade added that customers coming into the restaurant, “Will see a different color palate for sure and different finishes on the wall. By removing some walls, the dining area will also feel more open and airy.”

Improvements will total at least $500,000, Andrade said.

After the fire almost a year ago a Puerto Vallarta food truck was brought in to serve customers. The restaurant-on-wheels has been parked near the establishment and serves several of the business’s regular dishes.

“Hopefully we kept Puerto Vallarta in people’s minds with the food truck out there. We were surprised with the business [the truck] was doing. It’s been nice to see our regulars supporting us,” Andrade said.