Santiago Vallejo on Mariscos Puerto Esperanza's Closure
Yesterday, Edwin posted about the closure of Mariscos Puerto Esperanza, the Mexican seafood place in Orange so beloved of the food cognoscenti.
I caught up with Santiago Vallejo, the owner and chef, by e-mail and asked him what the story was behind the closure, and whether he had any plans for the post-MPE future.
It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that lack of sales was the principal driver behind the closure of the restaurant. With the exceptions of a short bump in business after our review and a larger one after the Register's review, the place was always empty.
"Our sales went down a lot," Vallejo said in an e-mail. "We know people can't spend a lot of money, and it was very difficult for me to continue operating." Asked if he had firm plans for the future, he demurred, saying only that he was going to come out of this swinging and looking for investors for his next project.
I'm going to remember Mariscos Puerto Esperanza's chile relleno del puerto and the langostinos zarandeados for a very, very long time. Let this be a lesson: we, the discriminating diners of OC, need to support places that cook great food, lest they one day be gone forever. "I should have gone more often" doesn't do any good after the place has been boarded up. We don't get to bitch about authentic Mexican food if we aren't willing to support it when we find it.