The Union Recorder

October 4, 2013

Staple Mexican eatery returns to town

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Puebla’s Mexican Restaurant is in the midst of reopening the eatery next month at the former Margarita’s Mexican Bar & Grill at the Milledgeville Mall after closing it’s original location in downtown Milledgeville nearly three years ago.

According to Puebla’s restaurant founder and owner, Armando Puebla, the Margarita’s owner asked him to take over the lease and purchase restaurant equipment in June.

“The Margarita’s owner has four restaurants in Macon and he is 63 years-old; it was just too much and he said it’s time for him to retire. [The Margarita’s owner] used to own El Sombrero where I used to work, so I learned under him,” Puebla said. “He thought I was the right person to take over this business since I was living here for so long, and I’ve been running a restaurant. Kroger also asked me come there, but it was more feasible for me to take this location, and it also takes away one competition.”

Born and raised in Mexico, Puebla made his way to the U.S. states in 1983 before rooting his family in Milledgeville six years later to manage the original El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant, which formerly sat at the current Krystal’s location off North Columbia Street.

Puebla realized his passion for serving guests near-authentic food of his Mexican heritage, so ventured out on his own in 1997 to bring Puebla’s Mexican Restaurant to an 1,800 square foot space in downtown Milledgeville next to Buffington’s on West Hancock Street.

“I knew how to cook since I was in Mexico, and I know how to run the dining area and kitchen. We closed in downtown in 2011 when my lease was up ... and I’ve been looking for a place since then so I could come back to Milledgeville where I’ve been a resident for more than half of my life.”

Business began booming locally and the Puebla’s restaurant expanded by opening a location in Sandersville in 2004 offering the same popular menu.

“I have people from Milledgeville coming to Sandersville to eat; that’s why I was so ready to relocate here,” Puebla said. “We have a very unique menu with 10 to 15 dishes that you won’t find in other restaurants, like our Drunken Shrimp which is seasoned and inflamed in rum. We also have steak burritos, steak quesadillas, nachos, special salads and the fajitas are very popular.”

The restaurant’s new space will be the largest location Puebla has opened yet, with a seating capacity of more than 200 in a 5,500 square foot space.

“This is a restaurant with a more Mexican atmosphere; you feel like you’re in Mexico when you walk in,” he said. “We’re just repainting and redoing the flooring.”

Once open in early November, the restaurant will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

“I have 16 to 20 full-time and part-time employees, but I’m looking to hire. People interested can drop off their resumes at the restaurant from Monday to Friday next week,” Puebla said. “I’m excited because people have been asking me for three years to come back and reopen here. My customers are the reason and inspiration of why I had to reopen.”

For more information about the eatery, or to apply for a position, call Puebla at 478-363-0925.

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