The Three Amigos restaurant is now open in the space formerly occupied by Don Patron Mexican Restaurant.

The Three Amigos restaurant is now open in the space formerly occupied by Don Patron Mexican Restaurant.

Owner Martin Garcia said he tried to sell the space after Don Patron was shut down in July, but no one bought it. He said he knew it was a good location and after praying for help, he decided to open another restaurant. He was concerned that he would be too busy with his other restaurant, La Casita in Hilliard.

"The lease is in my name so we'll see how it goes for one year," Garcia said.

Don Patron was shut down after New Albany police completed a five-month undercover drug investigation that led to the arrest of 14 people, most of whom were employed at the restaurant.

After Don Patron was closed, other local government officials stepped in and found violations, but all of those have been corrected, according to New Albany building official Tim Schaffner and Plain Township assistant fire Chief Jack Rupp.

Garcia said he had to hire new servers and work on the menu. So far, he said, customers are mentioning they are happy to see the restaurant is open again.

"I'm working very hard every day," he said. "I'm working different. I'm trying to work clean."

Garcia has reapplied for the liquor license and is hoping to put patio seating on the north side of the building before next summer. The village received an application for outdoor seating at The Shops at Walton Parkway, where Three Amigos is located. The request has to be reviewed by the New Albany Planning Commission, which makes recommendations to New Albany Village Council. The planning commission has not yet reviewed the application.

lwince@thisweeknews.com

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