SAN ANTONIO – A popular East Side restaurant known for its signature grilled chicken remains closed, several months after it was forced to shut down because of billowing clouds of smoke that the state of Texas said polluted the air in the nearby neighborhood
Frank Garcia, owner of Pollos Asados Los Nortenos in the 4600 block of Rigsby Avenue, said it has cost him more than $250,000 to retrofit an existing machine to be in state compliance.
Before the machine was fixed, Garcia had agreed to purchase a new machine, which would cost $150,000 and take two months to install.
But since he got the existing machine to work properly, he thought his problems were over.
"What's the difference if we use the old machine or the new machine, as long as we eliminate the smoke? The issue is the smoke," Garcia said.
He said that in addition to losing money on an estimated 1,000 customers daily, his 50 workers are unemployed.
Customers are also disappointed.
"I live off of (Loop) 1604 and (Highway) 281 North, and I drove all the way over here to eat at his restaurant," said a disappointed customer.
District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran released the following statement regarding the smoky stalemate:
"I know that Mr. Garcia has done a lot to improve the restaurant and rectify the issues identified by TCEQ and the Attorney General's Office. I know how important small, local businesses are to neighborhoods on the South and East sides of our city. I'm hoping for a resolution to this issue that allows San Antonians to enjoy Pollos Asados and residents to enjoy their neighborhood."