Is Esparza’s Tex-Mex Cafe closed forever? That’s the question today, after the Oregonian reported a sign in the window of the SE Ankeny restaurant that says “temporarily closed for renovating and regrouping”. In restaurant parlance, that frequently means “we’re done”.
Their website is down, but you can’t read much into that – the domain name expired late in December, something that frequently happens in the busy world of restaurant management. Still, you have to wonder.
Joe and Martha Esparza opened the restaurant in 1990, and immediately received accolades for their version of Tex-Mex food, though more often for the menu oddities – ostrich, buffalo and nopales – all fairly rare in those days. In 1992, the restaurant was named “restaurant of the year” by the Oregonian. Crowds followed, and it quickly became known for the long wait to get seated and the strong margaritas. Unfortunately, Esparza’s has fallen off the radar over the past five years or so, and is rarely mentioned these days. Let’s hope they really are retooling, and planning to reopen with a fresh look at the cuisine.
Dave J. says
Portlandmaps shows that Joe owns the building and the lot, and that he bought it for $70K in 1991. I’d say it doesn’t hurt the restaurant’s chances of re-opening that he knows he could probably flip it for many times that much, as there aren’t many restaurant spaces available on SE 28th, so it’s probably highly sought after.
PDX Food Dude says
More likely it might open under different owners. Hmm… wonder if an apartment building will fit there.
Sad. Since moving to PDX in 1995 I’ve probably eaten here more than any place in town Probably went almost weekly the first few years I lived here, and that was if you could get in. I’ve probably been 1-2 times a year recently and it had certainly lost some luster. This place was one of the first food hotspots in PDX and it was actually written up in the NYT twice in it’s heyday. I guess all good things must come to an end. Hopefully it gets new life.