I for one am very sorry to see this place go. The owners really tried to make a go of it but through forces outside of their control, they failed.
One of the worst things you can have in any business is a bad landlord. I am extremely lucky to have a great one in Mr. Sams, a old New Smyrna Beach family. For Emerson and his mom and dad(El Palenque’s owners), this was not the case. During the summer of 2010, when the heat was really on the building was too hot. The business owners tried to get the landlord to upgrade the A/C unit but he would not. What were they suppose to do? They had already put a ton of money into a building that was not theirs? Customers complained about the heat and rightly so. It was to hot in there. It was a classic stuck between a rock and a hard place situation. If there is one thing I have learned in business it’s this. Customers don’t care why things are not right, just make them right. You average American thinks that if you own your own business, you must be rich. I would ask around when chatting with customers about other places they like and places I liked. When El Palenque came up I would normally here, “why don’t they just get another A/C?” Easier said than done. It takes money and that was something they did not have because customers stopped coming because of the heat. It a vicious downward spiral to the bottom. They need money for the A/C but can’t make it because it’s too hot but they need A/C to get customers in so they can pay for the A/C.
I am going to miss the carne asada. They had this cheese sauce that was to die for. I would put it on the meat and OMG. It gave it a salty taste that mixed with the smokie flavor of the meat. Of all the New Smyrna Beach Restaurants serving Mexican food, they were the best. The dish also came with refried beans, rice and 4 tortillas. As a restaurant owner, I have no idea how they only charged $10 for that dish. As the owner of a new smyrna beach restaurant myself I know how these things work. It was so much food when you add in the chips and salsa they provided at the every table I don’t see how it was profitable. Remember a restaurant is not just paying for the food, they have rent, gas, electric, insurance, payroll and so on and so forth. You get the picture. It’s not just about the food. That plate of food your eating has to pay for EVERYTHING.