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Mexican restaurant plans to open on Opal Court

July 07, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

The owner of a chain of Mexican restaurants in Maryland and Pennsylvania intends to open next month in the space that was home to the former Al Pomodoro Ristorante at 1101 Opal Court in Hagerstown.

Ernest Camarena, owner of the La Tolteca restaurant chain, told the Washington County Board of License Commissioners, known as the liquor board, that he wanted to apply for a liquor license during a hearing Wednesday.

La Tolteca will open in about six weeks if everything goes as planned, Camarena said after the hearing.

"Whenever we get the permits, we're going to go for it," he said.

La Tolteca serves everything from tacos to steaks, Camarena said. The chain started 15 years ago in Salisbury, Md., and has spread to Bel Air, Md., and York, Pa.

Camarena estimated the Hagerstown location would employ 10 to 12 people, including servers and kitchen staff. The restaurant will seat about 140 customers.

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"It's mostly a family restaurant," he said.

La Tolteca will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, with meal prices ranging from $5 to $14, Camarena said.

While Camarena waits for the liquor license to be approved, contractors will make a few cosmetic adjustments to the interior of the dining area, landlord Bud Dahbura said.

"This is going to be a first-class restaurant," Dahbura said. "It's going to be upscale ... They're not new to the restaurant business. That's why we feel comfortable with them."

Dahbura said Al Pomodoro, a popular Italian restaurant, closed about a month ago.

A representative from Al Pomodoro could not be reached for comment.

The business opened in 2003, according to Herald-Mail archives.

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