SAN ANTONIO – The seven-month wait is almost over after Pollos Asados Los Nortenos was shut down after the smoke from grilling up to 800 chickens a day was found in violation of the Clean Air Act.
Owner Frank Garcia was busy Wednesday preparing to reopen his wildly popular restaurant.
“I’ve lost a lot of money and I’ve spent a lot of money, but I have no hard feelings against anybody,” Garcia said.
Garcia estimates required improvements cost him $350,000, including $150,000 for the sophisticated filtration system and smoke scrubber that he compared to one of the Transformers.
“I’m afraid this thing might get up and walk away,” Garcia said.
Garcia said the required improvements were approved by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the city of San Antonio.
Some residents downwind of the restaurant had complained and threatened legal action because of the clouds of smoke coming from the restaurant.
Garcia said the new system has been tested. He said the smoke will now be at the levels required by the state.
“It’s worth it for my business. It’s worth it to keep the environment clean and keep the neighbors happy,” Garcia said.
Garcia went from managing a high-end steak restaurant to a mobile kitchen outside a bar that became Pollos Asados Los Nortenos 12 years ago.
He said although he’s made a lot of changes, “The chicken will be the same, and the green sauce!”
For the grand reopening Thursday, Garcia said the restaurant will open at 10 a.m., instead of 11 a.m.