By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
Rodas says it’s not official yet but she and her husband, Osman, are hoping to
open their new 3 Amigos Restaurant within the next few weeks.
telling people any certain date we’ll be open yet, but we’re trying to open the
first week of November,” said Ms. Rodas.
shooting for Nov. 1, a Friday, she said, but opening may have to wait until the
next week depending on how quickly the crew can pull things together. “We have
all our equipment and everything that needs to go in,” said Ms. Rodas. “We just
need to finish painting and do the floors. With the four partners working on
it, that can all be done in a week or less.”
had arrived, indeed, to find Ms. Rodas with paint roller in hand, hair tied
back against splashes.
But she didn’t
mind stopping for a brief chat in the interest of getting the word out
efficiently. This is, after all, Dade County, where anything new to eat is such
big news that sometimes the cops are called out to direct traffic, and in fact
Ms. Rodas says interest has been keen.
“Every day that
we’re down here working, if they see a car people will stop and say, when are
you opening, when are you opening?” she said.
The answer to
that question, when, is still iffy, as detailed above. The answers to what and
where are easier: Ms. Rodas says the
Trenton 3 Amigos, a Mexican restaurant in the old Jo Mama's site on Highway 11
North, across from Gross Furniture, is modeled after the one in Lookout Valley,
which opened two years ago and which the Rodases have owned for a year and a half.
"It'll be exactly the same menu," said Ms. Rodas. "Inside, the
décor may be a little bit different."
Now for the
who: The Rodases are a young couple – Leah’s 26 – who live in East Ridge with
their two children aged 4 years and 6 months, respectively. To open the Trenton
restaurant, the couple partnered with the head cook at their Lookout Valley
store, Rafael Hernandez, and another chef they had known for years, Melchor
Ms. Rodas – who
is herself a Tennessee homegirl, but who speaks Spanish with an impressive
accent, having learned the language well before her marriage – will work
alongside her husband and the chefs in the restaurant; but next door, in the
building’s other storefront, she will also work with her mother, Michelle Dyer,
in the resale shop Ms. Dyer opened on Aug. 31.
Ms. Dyer had
operated a resale store years before and wanted to try it again, said Ms.
Rodas, while she herself wanted to diversify into some business a little easier
than a restaurant. “So we leased the whole building, and she is open every day
but Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Ms. Rodas. “That is subject to change after
the restaurant opens.”
Thus the whole
complex is a family business, said Ms. Rodas, albeit with a well-defined
division of labor. “My mom doesn’t do anything in the restaurant, though, and
my husband doesn’t do anything in the store,” she said. “They’re two different
store is called “Bek’s,” named after the newest addition to the family, Ms.
Rodas’ 6-month-old daughter, Rebecca.
Ms. Rodas said
she and her husband decided to open a 3 Amigos in Trenton to take advantage of
a perceived need. “The thing is, over in
Lookout Valley we have so many customers from here who go over there to eat,”
she said. “I would say 30 or 35 percent of our customers come from this area.”
hadn’t grasped at first how close they would be to Dade’s other Mexican
restaurant, Lalito’s, said Ms. Rodas, but decided when they did to proceed as
planned, considering their healthy customer base here. “We still wish them
well,” she said. “Hopefully, there’s enough business for everybody to keep
going and do well. There’s not that many restaurants in Trenton.”
plan to keep the same hours at the Trenton restaurant as at their Lookout
Valley location, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., though Ms. Rodas says if they can manage to
open before the end of football season they’ll be happy to keep the doors open
a little later on game nights.
answered all the other W-questions, the Sentinel proceeds to the final one,
will 3 Amigos serve cerveza along with the burritos and enchiladas? Beer and
wine by the glass are OK in Trenton after a controversial city ordinance a
couple of years ago, but so far only the Pizza Hut has taken advantage of the
In 3 Amigos’
case, the answer to that question is: Maybe later.
opening without a beer permit. If we get it, it will be sometime in the
future,” said Ms. Rodas. “According to the people in City Hall, they say that
we’re too close to the church. I think it has to be 200 feet and they say we’re
But she says
she and her husband may ask for a second measuring, or request a variance.
Ms. Rodas said
most probably she and her husband will leave their Lookout Valley 3 Amigos in
the capable hands of the manager there, Fernando, and themselves work mostly
here at the Trenton restaurant with their partners. “No one is going to run
your business better than you will,” she said.
In addition to
the partners, she said, 3 Amigos will hire four or five additional employees.