Alex Waters, the owner/chef of Bistro One, is taking a sabbatical, albeit a short one. "My kids and I are heading to the mountains today for a little break, and then it's back to work," says Waters, who will close Bistro One, his four-year-old restaurant, on Thursday and reopen it as 3 Monkeys Cantina.
"We had thought about closing this past weekend, but decided to go ahead and keep it open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week, mainly because my staff asked me to, as did our customers, who wanted one more Tuesday half-price burger night," says Waters.
But when he reopens the space as 3 Monkeys Cantina -- the name is the result of "having three little monkeys at home," as well as a play on the three wise monkeys of the "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" principle -- burgers will be replaced by tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, quesadillas and other Tex-Mex staples.
"There are plenty of American and New American restaurants in this neighborhood, but there's an absence of Mexican restaurants, and people like drinking margaritas and eating tacos on the patio," says Waters, who plans to plant a bar on his side patio, which was finally approved by the city last September, months after Waters had drawn up the plans to build it. "It'll be way more casual than Bistro One, and while I'm still fleshing everything out, I'm excited about the change."
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Waters intends to leave the long bar inside Bistro One just the way it is, but he's toying with removing the booths, and he's definitely brushing the walls with paint. "It's been four years, and the space is a little beat up, so we're going to paint the walls with some lively colors -- reds and rich ambers -- and then figure out what to do with everything else," he explains.
And he wants to get it done sooner rather than later. "I want to reopen as soon as possible," he says, adding that he hopes to unlock the doors within two to three weeks.