Last call at La Pinata next week
■ Restaurant to change name, offer different fare. .
OCT 9 1998
By COLLEEN NEWVINE
NEWS BUSINESS EDITOR
La Pinata will end its 17-year run as a Mexican restaurant Oct. 17.
After dinner that Saturday night, the eatery at West Stadium Boulevard and West Liberty Street will begin its transformation into Watercress, a restaurant featuring such entrees as seafood, pasta, ribs, and some favorites carried over from La Pinata, including margaritas.
Long-time owner Sheryl Darci will remain at the helm, joined by new partner David Cress.
Darci recalled that when the restaurant opened in 1981, diners routinely waited 30-45 minutes to get one of the 108 seats. It stayed that way for several years before things started to change.
“I think our business has just kind of steadily declined since ’89,” she said. “Mexican food just hasn’t drawn the people that it had in the ’80s.”
Darci’s sister, DeLynn Carter, left the business last year to pursue other interests, and soon Darci began giving thought to trying something different.
“We were thinking of maybe downsizing, finding something smaller on this side of town,” she said.
This spring, the Elks Club looked at buying the restaurant, but the deal never materialized.
Shortly thereafter, Cress approached Darci about a partnership.
Cress has worked at a number of restaurants, including Knight’s Steak House and Real Seafood Co.
Though Darci in part blames increased competition in the Mexican food arena for La Pinata’s decline, she’s not worried about entering the market with other American fare eateries.
“There’s room for a quality restaurant with a wider menu on the west side,” she said.
Starting Monday, La Pinata will be open only for dinner. It will close after Oct. 17, and is expected to reopen sometime in mid November. The phone number will remain the same.
Colleen Newvine covers manufacturing, real estate and other business issues. She can be reached at (734) 994-6835.