Colorado Springs restaurant expands despite pandemic setbacks

Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 09:58:33-04

Governor Jared Polis, in collaboration with the Colorado Restaurant Association, proclaimed Tuesday as Dine Out to Help Out Day.

During the day, Coloradans are urged to dine out, take out or order delivery to support local restaurants in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of restaurants being ordered to shut down. It's meant to raise awareness about the significant losses that the restaurant industry has faced during this time and encourages the community to play a role in recovery.

“On March 16, 2020, restaurants were told that they must close their doors the following day due to pandemic concerns,” said Sonia Riggs, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association. “After an entire year of navigating this crisis, COVID-19 has decimated the restaurant industry. It could take three to five years, at minimum, for restaurants to recover from this, and the public can play a huge role in helping to turn this around more quickly. As much as possible, and specifically this Tuesday, we encourage everyone to Dine Out to Help Out at their favorite restaurant.”

The Colorado Restaurant Association says restaurants have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. The industry has lose more than $3 billion and 94,000 jobs.

One restaurant in Colorado Springs has managed to rebound and even expand during the pandemic. The owners of Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant plan on opening a new location in Northgate.

"It's one of those things you never expect, and you have to be ready for whatever happens," said Martin Arceo, Co-Owner and General Manager of Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant.

The pandemic forced unexpected closures and limited capacity. But with help from the community, Arceo says they've been able to avoid significant losses.

"The community, they come in more for to-go orders, and they want to give us some business. The support is really good," said Arceo.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the restaurant has had to close down twice. The first time in two months and the second for two weeks.

"I did represent a restaurant that moved into a Village Inn space. It was one of the original Village Inns," said Caleb David, Commercial Broker, and Consultant.

He says more local restaurants are moving into national chain spaces.

"Seeing that in commercial real estate is really awarding for me. To find those family-owned businesses that have figured out ways to make it work," said David.

Also pivoting to meet the needs of customers and allowing them to do more.

"Expand a little more and do a good service for the community," said Arceo.

The new location is set to home in the summer.