Owner announces El Palacio will close Jan. 14, makes plea for other local businesses

BY Jess Harter Saturday, January 6, 2018

elpalacioanthony0823162018 already has turned out to be a year of extreme highs and lows for Anthony Serrano. Just four days after accomplishing one of his career goals by appearing on the popular Food Network show ‘‘Chopped,’’ the chef is closing his eight-year-old El Palacio Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Chandler.

The restaurant’s final day will be next Sunday, Jan. 14, Serrano announced Saturday in a heartfelt video message on El Palacio’s Facebook page:

‘‘I’m making this decision with tremendous sadness and reluctance. I’ve spent eight years of my life trying to make the restaurant profitable using all the means at my disposal. We’ve been featured multiple times on local and national TV. We’ve won multiple awards at culinary competitions across the country. We’ve tried using various marketing companies. We’ve tried launching great promotions. All on top of offering great food and service at a great value.

‘‘All this success and hard work, however, has not translated into enough new customers to support us. Sure, in the course of eight years we’ve made our share of mistakes and missteps, but we’ve always tried to correct and learn from them. However, after eight long years we’ve realized everything – even a restaurant – has an expiration date.

‘‘I’ve poured my heart, soul, and health into this business, not to mention an enormous amount of my time, energy, and my own financial resources, as well as those provided by my family. After much time and reflection, I’ve come to realize the strain is just too much and this restaurant is no longer viable from a business perspective. …

‘‘Unfortunately, the public’s unbreakable loyalty to chains and big corporations, the popularity of fast-casual restaurants, and the recent increases in the minimum wage are a few of the leading factors in this decision.

‘‘I’m also very sorry my amazing staff and managers now have to look for work. Their dedication and hard work are a true testament to what makes this country great and why I love small businesses so much.

‘‘In addition, I want to thank our wonderful and loyal guests that have not only become friends but part of my family. Your loyalty and love make this decision tougher than it already is. We have a lot of great and happy memories at El Palacio, and we hope you do as well.

‘‘Our pride and honor has kept us from sharing our struggles publicly, but because of the substantial financial burden this has caused my family, I’m launching a GoFundMe account to help us honor our final financial commitments and hopefully not close on such a low note.

‘‘I wish everyone the very best, and I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life, whatever that may be. We hope you come in one last time before we close up Jan. 14.

‘‘Remember, there are plenty of small businesses just like us that are drowning in a sea of chains and need your support. Always try to dine and shop local and support your local business.

‘‘Thank you and God bless.’’

Serrano tells MXSW his immediate plans after Jan. 14 are to remain in the East Valley to work on his blog and his brand.

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