El Pueblito Mexican restaurant, family-owned for more than 13 years at 3226 Harborview Drive in downtown Gig Harbor, has a new look.
Brightly colored tiled arches with textural paint and festive furniture, as well as granite tabletops fill the space in the restaurant, bar and banquet room.
The restaurant owners started the process six months ago. The majority of the work was completed done at night in order to minimize disruption for patrons.
Walls were torn out and rebuilt with decorative tiles and arches, and hand-crafted motifs were painted throughout the restaurant as part of the process. The restaurant also added custom furniture for a complete makeover.
The result has been met with glowing reviews from regular customers and employees alike.
Longtime waitress Augustina Thomas has been working at the restaurant since it opened.
“It is so fun to see everyone enjoying the new look,” she said. “It turned out great.”
General Manager Tavo Lopez is one of the 10 children of owners Ramon and Delfina Lopez. The Lopez family owns a pair of El Pueblito restaurants. The other is in Port Orchard. The couple has lived and raised their family in Gig Harbor for the past 25 years.
“We decided, after 13 years, we wanted to make some changes and make a big difference for our customers,” Tavo Lopez said. “We think it turned our very nice with the bright colors and details.”
The restaurant added a few new drinks to its menu along with new happy-hour food, including shrimp, lobster and beef tacos.
All of the favorites remain on the menu — the El Pueblito burrito, carne asada and enchiladas verde.
Regular customers are enthusiastic about the changes.
Steve Skibbs and his daughter Allison Welch go the restaurant weekly.
“I love the new décor,” Skibbs said. “It’s fun and different. I come here for Tavo’s salsa and the challupas. It’s a great place.”
Roy and Linda Parfitt split time between Arizona and Gig Harbor, and they saw the facelift last week for the first time.
“We were surprised with the result,” Linda Parfitt said. “The furniture and new look is fantastic.”
“I tell them (the Lopez family) this is equal to or better than the Mexican food in Arizona every time I come in,” Roy Parfitt added.
El Pueblito had a grand reopening last Friday, when it ushered in the restaurant’s new era with a live band. The restaurant and bar overflowed with customers who celebrated the remodeled look, Tavo Lopez said.
Lopez said he’s looking forward to adding live music in the bar every Saturday in a few weeks as the family moves forward.
Patriarch Ramon Lopez said he’s been thrilled with his customers’ reaction.
“People love it,” he said. “I am happy to offer my customers such a bright and festive place to come enjoy.”
Returning customer Ann Callin said she enjoys the unique experience.
“It’s good food and a good family,” Callin said.Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.