It's another edition of musical restaurants!
That poor little shack/hut/hovel on Curry Ford Road east of Bumby Avenue ought to just put in a revolving door and change the sign to one of those Magic Slates you write on and then lift the cover to erase.
The latest tenant, however, didn't go out of business, it just moved down the road to another space that keeps turning tenants. La Fiesta Mexican Grill, which occupied the space at 2420 Curry Ford Road for only a matter of months, recently moved to the space most recently vacated by Lima 41 at 2901 Curry Ford Road, a small office complex. Before La Fiesta, the free-standing building held another Mexican restaurant, Senor Frogi. Less said about that one the better.
Not much to say about La Fiesta, either. I found the food to be marginal at best. Nothing was unacceptable, but nothing was oh-my-god wonderful. I did find the potato stuffing on the chili relleno interesting, but only interesting. There wasn't much effort put into the burrito, neither in its seasonless ground beef filling nor the wrapping. The refried beans were good, but the rice was bland. And to top it all off I didn't really feel like my business was all that welcomed.
La Fiesta's new home is only slightly larger than the one it left. That space didn't sit empty long — Rincon Criollo, apparently a transplant from Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, has already written on the Magic Slate sign.
Why is this place so problematic? I don't profess to know all the ins and outs of restaurant finances, but I do know that the number of seats in a restaurant is key to how much it can make (well, duh!). But I'm not sure aspiring restaurateurs really grasp that.
Here's the thing. When you're putting together your business plan, you need to estimate all your expenses — rent, utilities, labor, food costs; everything. In a tremendously oversimplified next move, you need to take your total expenses and divide them by the number of seats your restaurant can hold. That will tell you how much you need to make from each seat in your restaurant. If your calculations tell you that every one of your restaurant's seats needs to be filled every night and seated three times just to cover your costs, you probably have a problem.
But hey, it's possible. There have been many successful restaurants that operate with limited seating. The key is that they present good food and they make their guests know that their business is appreciated.
La Fiesta Mexican Grill is at 2901 Curry Ford Road, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. It has no website. The Phone number is 407-985-4340.