Fiesta Mexican Restaurant & Cantina Replaces T.W. Amigos
The carry-out favorite opens sit-down location two-and-a-half days after getting keys to building.
The wait is over for fans of Hartland's Mexican Fiesta Express — their favorite place for Mexican cuisine is up and running at its new larger location in the Fountain Square Plaza.
The plans to move began more than a year ago, but paperwork over the liquor license held up the transition. On Wednesday, it all flew into motion.
"We got the keys to the building Wednesday morning and we didn't leave for two-and-half days," Bar Manager Greg Guibord Jr. said.
Tweaking the name, owners opened Fiesta Mexican Restaurant and Cantina at 11 a.m. Friday with a few patrons already waiting at the door.
The move to the former home of T.W. Amigos, 10016 Highland Road (M-59), was mutual between the two sets of owners. Fiesta's former location at 10051 Highland Road in the Shops at Waldenwoods — which is kitty-corner to Fountain Square — will now be leased to someone else.
"Our customers wanted us to expand and were looking for a full-service restaurant, and that's really what our goal was too," said Nicole Alvarado whose husband Chris is one of the owners. "Get the carry-out here to establish our name and establish ourselves in the community and then look to expand. It was just waiting for the proper opportunity."
Owners Chris Alvarado and his father Joe looked at quite a few areas before deciding to come to Hartland more than three years ago. But friends in Hartland that had worked at their other locations in Dearborn Heights and Canton told them how much the community was growing, and how much they liked it here. They opened in July 2007 with Greg Guibord Sr. as a third owner.
"We've put in a lot of hard work," Nicole Alvarado said. "We have a lot of people who have moved out here — who used to work at the other restaurants — and they have been able to come here and help us which is just wonderful."
Forty additional employees were hired for the larger location, all local. Alvarado and her husband live in Hartland and they try to get as many of their supplies from the local community as they can. The new location also has a few new offerings.
"There are more things available on the menu; we can cater to larger groups of people, larger parties, showers, and things that we could not facilitate at our other location," Alvarado said. "We also have a bar menu with specialty drinks. The sangrias and margaritas are all recipes that are specific to our restaurant that were created years ago."
There will be a lunch special Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a drink special each day and dollar drafts of Miller Lite and Labatt.
Despite little promotion or notice, fans of Fiesta welcomed the surprise opening, including Keith and Tina McArthur of Hartland, who first drove to the old location for Friday night take-out, only to find a dark store front.
"We love it," Tina McArthur said. "We ate at their other place all the time and were so excited when they decided to open up here and we could sit down and have our meal. They'll do very well here. Everyone I talk to loves this restaurant."