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HomeNewsBracebridge’s El Pueblito rebuilds, year after patio destroyed

Bracebridge’s El Pueblito rebuilds, year after patio destroyed

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A summer after it was destroyed by a runaway vehicle, El Pueblito’s patio has been rebuilt.

The patio’s sidewalk extension had been struck by a vehicle in October. The restaurant was closed at the time, and no one was hurt.

Marlenne Rickard, who owns the Mexican restaurant with her husband, said in mid-May she was looking forward to rebuilding.

Work was bumped back to after Victoria Day because of weather, and the patio is now up and running.

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Rickard explains because of safety concerns from the town and district, people will now need to line up to the side of the patio rather than on its sidewalk extension.

Several members of the community had reached out to offer their help in rebuilding last year. However, Rickard says because of a particularly busy time, the restaurant did not end up following up.

“It was very nice of the people offering, but we kind of decided that we’d maybe just take [the cost],” says Rickard.

One of those offers came from an unlikely source– the person who drove into the patio last year.

“He came and spoke to my husband. He just said ‘it was me, the person that destroyed the patio that night,’ and he said ‘I just want to let you know I’m here to help with any damages that I caused,” Rickard says.

In March, the District of Muskoka had approved the waiving of the restaurant’s sidewalk patio licensing fees for this year. Rickard estimates the cost of the rebuilt section at around $4,000.

“We just need to work harder, sell more margaritas,” Rickard jokes. “But it was a big help that the district voided the fee. I think it’s $800. That’s a big fee voided, so that helped.”

Although the design is staying the same, the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions means increased capacity for the patio, something Rickard hopes can continue.

“Before, we could only fit 16 people, but now we can fit 24,” says Rickard. “Which is nice, it will feel like Mexico,” she jokes.

Rickard says that aside from dealing with the same staffing issues as every restaurant right now, they’ve got high hopes for the coming season.

“Other than that, we think it’s going to be a very beautiful summer,” says Rickard. “We’re optimistic.”

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