PIQUA — Following 10 years of having an El Sombrero location in Piqua, the restaurant will close Oct. 4.
Owner Ruben Pelayo and his American “mom,” Judy Rose, said it is with heavy hearts that they made the decision.
“It’s due to circumstances beyond our control,” said Rose, discussing the closing of the restaurant, located in a leased space at 1274 E. Ash St., Piqua.
She said unlike many other restaurants, some of the employees have been with El Sombrero for seven — even 10 — years.
“Ruben and I have been trying to save as many employees as we can. It is hard to fold two staffs into one facility. We’re trying to keep the people we’ve had so long.
“When you get close to your employees, it’s hard to go through what we are going through,” said Rose, who said they are writing letters of recommendation for any employees that would not be making the transition to the Troy location.
Rose said a coupon recently was mailed out in a mass mailing to more than 3,000 people encouraging customers to continue to support the business by coming to the Troy restaurant.
With the closing of the Piqua location, Rose said they plan to focus on making updates at the Troy location at 1700 N. County Road 25-A, including painting, new carpet and looking at the possibility of increasing the parking lot.
“We are staying here forever,” Rose said of the Troy restaurant, which added an outdoor patio in the last couple years.
She also said they had looked at other locations over the years, but haven’t found anything fitting.
“We’re going to concentrate on Troy and see what happens down the road,” Rose said.
Rose said they are planning to add some new traditional recipes at the restaurant as daily specials that will only be available on certain days.
She and Pelayo also want to continue to focus on El Sombrero being a family-friendly environment, according to Rose.
“We really want to make it a place where families want to come,” she said.
For the free traditional Thanksgiving meal that has been offered at both locations each year on Thanksgiving Day, Rose said they either will prepare for Troy’s location to be much busier with the loss of the Piqua store, or they are open to ideas to continue the meal in Piqua.
She said if there were a facility that offered to host the meal — a space large enough to handle the meal’s traffic and cooking needs — they would provide all of the food.
For more information on the possibility, call Rose at 937-339-2100.