An event Marysville residents have been waiting months for will finally take place Dec. 18 when Fiesta Grande holds its official grand reopening at a new location, 109 N. Main St.
Francisco Arevalo, manager and part-owner of the Mexican restaurant, said the celebration from noon to 3 p.m. will include a ribbon-cutting and a mariachi band.
With the countdown on, Arevalo could not be happier.
"It feels great. We're glad to be back in business and blessed at the same time that, after a year and a half, people were still anxious for us to open," he said. "It's been one year, five months and 10 days."
A windstorm that blew through Marysville on June 29, 2012, caused the collapse of a load-bearing wall on the third floor of the old Fiesta Grande building at 119 W. Fifth St. First responders evacuated about 50 people from the restaurant and surrounding businesses that day.
A few days later, the building was torn down. That lot now stands empty, but the new Fiesta Grande is located less than a block away.
The restaurant opened for private parties for family and friends over the last week and opened to the public Wednesday, Dec. 11, with the intent of staying open through the weekend.
"It was a soft opening, but there was nothing soft about it," Arevalo laughed.
He said there was no "lunch crowd" or "dinner crowd" -- instead, it was an "all-day crowd."
The restaurant has had no advertising and, in fact, the sign wasn't even up when customers poured in Dec. 11.
"We like it here. It's an open concept but has less capacity than the previous location," Arevalo said. "It can hold 100. The old location held about 130."
Some chairs and booths from the old location were the only items to make it to the new Fiesta Grande.
They survived because they were in a newer portion of the building that was left untouched by the storm that damaged the original 128-year-old structure.
For the first six months after the storm, Arevalo said, the owners dealt with insurance claims, then the process began to get permits and contractors in place.
"It's a long process, but everybody goes through the same process (to open a business). I am pleased the city and county worked with me," he said.
A sign near the entrance of the restaurant lists all the local businesses that supported the restaurant through the renovation process. Most of the contractors were local.
Fiesta Grande employs about the same number of people as before. There are 10 to 14 employees, including part-timers. Arevalo said he was pleased to get most of his former cooks back.
He said he is passionate about keeping the business downtown.
"We want to see downtown booming again," Arevalo said. "It has a lot of potential. We, as part of the community, have families here going to Marysville schools. We want to see not just people but families walking around uptown."
There is a long-term plan in place for the restaurant's former location, he said.
"We plan to rebuild in the original spot. We just don't know how long that will take," Arevalo said.
Watching that building come down in summer 2012 was a horrible feeling, he said, but he is glad no one was hurt.
"It was heartbreaking, but it was all material," Arevalo said.
Opening Fiesta Grande on North Main Street for the first time after such a long wait was exciting.
"I was nervous and excited, but overall, glad to be back in business," he said. "It's been worth the wait."