Mexican restaurant to take over former Gary’s Steak House

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garyssteakhouseMEEKER I After closing its doors Aug. 9, Gary’s Steak House and Saloon will reopen … as Fiesta Guadalajara.
Alex Sanchez, general manager of Fiesta Guadalajara, said the family-owned business is negotiating with Gary McKinney, who owned Gary’s, to open a Mexican restaurant in the Market Street building where the steakhouse was formerly located. McKinney owns the building.
“We hope to open as soon as possible,” Sanchez said. “We need to get a liquor license, we need some permits from the town, there are all these things that need to be done, but we are aiming (to open) for sometime in November, if everything goes right.”
Fiesta Guadalajara will “lease for one year with an option to buy (the building) at anytime,” Sanchez said.
Asked if he was excited to open a restaurant in Meeker, Sanchez said, “Oh, my friend, you can believe it.”
This will be the sixth Fiesta Guadalajara in northwest Colorado, with other restaurants in Fruita, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Montrose and Rifle. Sanchez said the company had been eying Meeker as a possible location for a restaurant.
“Actually, since the oil and gas was booming, but we didn’t find anything (as far as a location),” Sanchez said.
The chain of Mexican restaurants started in Ontario, Ore., in 1991, and expanded to Colorado in 1999 with its initial location in Grand Junction.
“That was our first (restaurant in Colorado),” Sanchez said, adding the Grand Junction restaurant is closed temporarily.
“We leveled it, and we’re building a new building from scratch,” Sanchez said.
The Grand Junction restaurant is expected to reopen in March or April, Sanchez said. In the meantime, some of the staff from that restaurant may work at the new Meeker location once it opens.
“But that would only be temporary, just to open, then we would hire people locally,” Sanchez said.
Asked how many people he would hire, Sanchez said, “It will depend on how busy we are.”
Fiesta Guadalajara has about 15 restaurants total, Sanchez said, with locations in Idaho, Missouri, Oregon and Wyoming, in addition to Colorado. The business is headquartered in Ontario, Ore., where its first restaurant was opened.
No major changes to the building are planned initially, Sanchez said.
“We’re going to bring some booths in, but other than that, we’ll just open the way it is,” Sanchez said. “We’ll just arrange things the way we work.”