Tulsa, Oklahoma. The new owner of a popular Mexican restaurant in Tulsa is working around the clock to try to get the business back up and running again.
An Arizona Mexican restaurant, located at 5800 South Lewis Avenue, was suddenly closed at the end of June.
In a Facebook post, original owner Heyka Zambrano posted:
Dear attendees, dear guests,
It is with incredible sadness that I must announce that Arizona will be closing its doors. We can’t make it happen, with the cost of food production increasing, and with a difficult struggle with finances, the Oklahoma Tax Commission closed our doors.
The debt I’m in right now from trying to keep the restaurant open is massive, but I have to keep moving forward.
I’ve had some of the best staff one could ask for, many of them have been with us for over 20 years and it breaks my heart, but I’m forever grateful to them and thank them for sticking with them for so long.
We will absolutely miss our guests, many of you are not just guests, but family. We’ve seen you grow up, seen your problems and your happiness, that’s the worst part.
Boy, are we going to miss you all…
I also wanted to thank all the people out there for being our guests, because we definitely knew you had a choice.
thank you all …
I am sorry.
Maurice Prado began working for the Arizona Mexican company in 1994. He has run the company for nearly 30 years.
Prado was saddened to see the owner closing his shop at the end of June, but decided almost immediately that it should remain open.
Talk to employees and tell them about his plan to reopen the business. 14 employees chose to stay in the restaurant.
It’s going to be tough but once we’re ready, I think we’ll be fine,” Prado said.
Old customers like Dee Helm were stunned to learn more about the shutdown.
“My grandchildren came last week and they were just crying,” Helm said.
“It was like we couldn’t go to Arizona?”
Helm says she has been eating at the restaurant since 1995. For Helm, Maurice Prado has become like family.
“Morris is the success of this restaurant,” Helm said.
“It’s the reason for customer service. It’s the reason for the great food.”
There is a huge community push to reopen the popular restaurant. A GoFundMe account has raised more than $11,700.
“It made me proud that people in this community see the good in this restaurant,” Helm said.
Prado says the money will help pay 14 employees before the company reopens.
“When I open, I know I’ll get everyone ready,” Prado said.
“I have the kitchen and front staff and I can be really confident running this place.”
Prado says the reopening process has been difficult. They should start from the beginning with permits, licensing and inspections.
They also do some rebuilding while the doors are closed.
For customers, like Helm, they just want to enjoy food, drink and atmosphere again.
“This is a place that needs to succeed for this community,” Helm said.
Prado says he hopes to open the doors again in about three weeks. He says they will likely have to raise prices to stay in business.
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