Blame the train.
PR’s Taco Palace in Winter Park has closed. Owner Perry Inman closed the original location of the Tex-Mex restaurant Saturday after nearly 30 years in operation at that location..
“It’s sad to leave,” he said when reached by phone Monday. “I’m sad, but we’ve had fun.”
Inman blamed the problems with the building, notably a lack of parking, an issue he didn’t have when he first opened in November 1987. PR’s is on Fairbanks Avenue at the railroad crossing, and until a couple of years ago, there was a street that followed along the tracks, angling from Fairbanks Avenue to New York Avenue. Patrons of the bar/restaurant could park along the street next to the tracks.
But when SunRail started operating, officials became concerned with safety along the tracks — never mind that freight trains and Amtrak had been using the tracks for decades — and filled the street in. PR’s customers had to contend for the few spaces in front of the business.
Ironically, trains figure into the bar’s early popularity. Inman said that one of his bartenders came up with the idea to have dollar shots of liquor whenever a train was passing by. So people started anticipating the clang clanging from the crossing signal that indicated a train was coming.
Inman opened a location in College Park last year and he says that PR’s is doing well. He said that as he approaches 60, he’s not interested in working so hard anymore. But he also said that after a little time off, he’d start looking for another location to replace the Winter Park restaurant. There have been other locations for PR's over the years, including one at Kirkman and Conroy Roads in Orlando.