After more than three decades in Tallahassee, La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant will serve its final customers Saturday evening.
“This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write publicly,” read a Facebook post written by the eatery’s longtime owners, Jana and Pedro Hernandez. “After serving the best Mexican food in Tallahassee since 1989, we are ready to step away and close the doors forever to La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.”
Jana and Pedro wrote that the eatery’s end is not due to labor shortages or inflation, but rather their desire to retire and “see what life has to offer outside the restaurant business,” the post read, adding that they are “tired” and ready to take “a well-earned break.”
La Fiesta, 2329 Apalachee Parkway, is the latest Tallahassee staple restaurant to close because of the retirement of the owners.
In October, Cabo’s Island Grill and Bar owner Mike Ferrara announced the beloved eatery would be closing after a “great run” of more than 30 years. In late November, Jim and Milt’s Bar B-Q shut its doors when longtime owner, Mike Flury, sought to slow down and officially retire.
A few months earlier, the owners of Carlos’ Cuban Grill, Carlos and Anne Pla, closed the eatery they ran for over two decades and retired.
La Fiesta is next-door neighbors to the vacant building that was once home to another Tallahassee institution, Barnaby’s Family Inn.
“We are so incredibly thankful to you for eating with us over the years, and for giving us the privilege of seeing your families grow up, and being able to know you on a personal level,” read a Facebook post from the couple behind La Fiesta. “Thank you for all the birthdays, weddings, first dates, engagements, baby showers, and other special moments that you shared with us.”
Ginger Jackson, who has been going to La Fiesta once a week for 16 years, says the restaurant is the “go-to” place to celebrate birthdays, promotions and retirements in her family.
“The staff has seen my kids grow up and always treats us like family,” Jackson, 45, told the Democrat. “They’re really special people there. I am happy for them but sad for us.”
Jennifer Gunter, 49, said she has been eating at La Fiesta since the early 1990s.
“It’s a Tallahassee staple,” she said while in line to pay for a meal she just ate at the eatery. “There’s so much history and it means so much to a lot of people.”
More than 600 people have commented on La Fiesta’s closing announcement with well wishes for the couple as well as their favorite memories of the restaurant.
The store’s final day open will be Saturday, said Owner Pedro Hernandez. He declined to comment further on the closure of the restaurant and his retirement plans.
“Please come see us before we go, even if it’s to just pop in and say ‘Hola’,” the post read. “The love and commitment that you showed my La Fiesta family over the last (30) years is overwhelming to even think about. I’ll forever look back on my memories of the restaurant with great fondness, and I hope you do too.”
Contact Christopher Cann at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @ChrisCannFL on Twitter.
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