When Casa De Oro closed its doors in January, it looked like Adel might be without a Mexican restaurant. It didn’t take long, however, for Antonio Berber to come along and bring his business into town.
Berber will open Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Adel and believes they will be open to the public on Feb. 20 or shortly after. He took over the building at 815 Main Street on Feb. 1 and has already made a lot of changes to the main dining room and the kitchen.
“There was carpet in the dining room, it was all torn up and impossible to clean or do anything with it,” Berber said. “Carpet is harsh for a restaurant. There’s always food and drink spillage. It’s hard to clean that.”
New tile has taken the place of the carpet that was there before and new tables and seating in the dining room will be in place by the time they open. All of the old furniture that was on the first floor will be used to furnish the second floor.
Berber said he has a brother who has a construction company and that he has been doing all of the construction work on the building, including laying down the 3,200 square feet of tile in the dining room.
While he plans to be open by Feb. 20, he said that some of the equipment could hold them back a bit.
“We ended up replacing absolutely everything, getting new equipment and I think that’s what’s going to hold us back a day or two,” Berber said.
All of the equipment in the kitchen from stoves, griddles, cheese melters and more are being replaced before Fiesta opens. He said that they even rearranged a lot in the kitchen.
Although this will be his first time having a restaurant in Adel, that does not mean he is new to Adel or the restaurant business. He currently owns Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in Pleasant Hill, El Barco in Urbandale and ran Los Tres Amigos in Waukee until 2009, and during that time, he lived in Adel.
The chance to come into Adel happened suddenly for Berber, saying that just two weeks ago, they didn’t know they would be opening another branch.
“It just kind of all fell in place,” Berber said. “I was in Tennessee a couple weekends ago, I came back and the next day I found out from one of the employees that were working here that Casa De Oro shut down.”
Before opening his first Fiesta restaurant in Pleasant Hill, he had tried to lease the building in Adel before, but he said that “for whatever reason it just didn’t come through.” He had already looked at the building years ago and jumped at the opportunity to have his new restaurant in Adel this time around.
The first thing that Berber mentioned when talking about what his customers would get when they visit Fiesta is the “awesome service” that they provide.
“We’ve had great luck with our… great staff. We couldn’t do anything without them,” Berber said.
He said that in the beginning, he will get from his staff at his other restaurants to get them started.
“I think that’s going to help us have great customer service from the beginning,” Berber said. He said that even the staff coming from his other restaurants will take time to adjust to the new setting and the new configuration when helping out.
As far as the food goes, he said that they try to do “the same thing” as other Mexican cuisine, but “a little bit better” at Fiesta.
“I feel like we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Berber said. “A lot of people have their dishes that they already like and some people want to venture out of that and some people don’t, so we have the most traditional dishes, plus we always try to add a few more things as well for those people who do want to try something different.”
Berber went on to say that their main goal is to just enjoy what they do. He said that one of his favorite things about the restaurant business is meeting new people and making friends and that it becomes personal as he gets to know the customers, especially in this day and age of social media.
Berber said that they are going to try to make the restaurant unique and that he hopes it will be their best one yet.
“We always try to improve,” Berber said. “I think our first restaurant in Pleasant Hill is nice, our restaurant in Urbandale is a little bit nicer and I think this one (in Adel) is going to be a little bit nicer.”