Even with experienced teams, it takes a while for a new restaurant to settle in. But right around the time chefs usually begin to catch their breath, the family behind El Chingon realized that they'd need to do it all over again -- soon. "Within the first three or four months ... [we] realized the location in Arvada was not fitting what we were doing," says David Lopez, who has shared the role of executive chef with his grandmother, Gloria Nunez, since the restaurant first opened in 2011. So when a space on Tennyson Street opened up, the family jumped at it. Hoping to renovate that space in six months or so, they chose not to renew their existing lease. See also: Review -- El Chingon's rellenos have a soft landing on Tennyson Street
But the Tennyson location -- built in 1904 as a house and used commercially in recent years - took far longer to renovate than they'd anticipated, which meant the family was without a restaurant for many months.
Even though it had been a bakery, it needed a full kitchen. In addition, "the way that house vented out through the roof and attic was causing lot of issues we didn't foresee," says Lopez, who helped oversee contractors doing the work. "We had a few different engineers and figured it out finally." Construction ended up taking about a year, and fans of the original El Chingon wondered if they'd ever get a chance to order those tasty burritos, tostadas and tacos again.
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Now customers are waiting for another project to end: the back patio, which will add another 45 seats -- considerably more than the original location had altogether. If everything goes well, that patio is now scheduled to open tomorrow, and a new summer menu will be introduced next week.