Building to be sold; owners hope to reopen locally

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Casa Olé, a popular Mexican restaurant on Main Street in the downtown Waukesha area, will close by the end of the year, restaurant staff confirmed Tuesday, Dec. 6, though it could re-emerge elsewhere at some point.

The building the restaurant leases space from at 408 E. Main St. is being sold, staff said, and the restaurant's lease is up at the end of the month, so the eatery will shut down.

The last day of business could be either Dec. 18 or Dec. 24.

But that closing should only be temporary, staff said, because the restaurant's owners hope to relocate somewhere in the city in the next five or six months.

It is unclear whether the building has been or will be sold and what will become of it. According to county tax records, Gonzalez-Charcon Investments Inc. owns the property, but contact information for that company was not immediately available.

What is clear is that Casa Olé will be missed.

'Heartbreaking' news

"It was definitely heartbreaking when (restaurant staff) told us" about the closing, said Joshua Phinn, a longtime customer and Waukesha resident who lives two doors down from the restaurant.

Phinn said he and his wife fell in love over "countless" meals at Casa Olé and even hired the restaurant to cater their wedding.

News of the closure struck him "like a punch in the gut," he said, and stressed that he received exceptional service every time he ate there.

Alderman Erik Helgestad, whose downtown district includes Casa Olé, said he was unaware of the closure until a reporter informed him of it late Tuesday morning.

"I really hope they relocate somewhere close by in the city, and soon too," Helgestad said, adding that he had recently taken his brother out to dinner there.

"My family has gone there a number of times, and we've taken family and friends there too for great meals and their friendly staff."

Phinn, who described Casa Olé as "the best Mexican restaurant in Waukesha," said he viewed the closure as a loss to the community.

Eatery's history

There has been a Mexican restaurant in that Main Street location for at least two decades, sources said.

A restaurant called Casa Del Rio operated there for several years, and the name changed to Casa Olé when ownership of the space transferred a few years ago.

Staff said reopening Casa Olé in Waukesha is their goal because the business has a substantial local customer base, and moving to a place like Milwaukee – which is flush with Mexican eateries – could plunge the restaurant into obscurity.

Another possible reason for the closure is impending and long-term road construction along Main Street in front of the restaurant. Restaurant staff said they did not want to try to brave that construction, which could last for several months.

A call to a city engineer seeking information about that road work in 2017 was not immediately returned.

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