In Idyllwild’s commercial core, businesses come, go, and change ownership and business models. Staying profitable in a small town that depends on both local support and tourist dollars is demanding.
Two businesses, both art-based, are closing shop – Lightbender Art Studios on Highway 243 and Jerry Art in Oakwood Village.
A third is changing its business model and its name. Luis Solis and brother Manny have, in one week’s time, closed their Jade Mountain Asian Bistro on Highway 243 and reopened in the same location as Tacos Los Gorditos, a Mexican taco and delicacy restaurant focused on providing customers quality food in a fast counter service mode from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
After 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday,Solis said the focus shifts to a full service based restaurant, with Mexican entertainment and karaoke with a late closing. Special delicacies include aguachiles, camarones, octopus and campechana (shrimp, octopus and oysters mixed with pico de gallo).
Tacos are across the board in variety including some not usually found – salmon or shrimp, surf and turf, beef tongue or beef tripe, and crunchy cheese. Tortillas are made on site and lard is not used in cooking. Domestic and imported beers are served along with specialty agua fresca varieties - horchata, Jamaica and tamarindo. Weekend specialties include menudo, pozole and birria.
Said Solis, “Our Mexican culture is very warm and friendly. We wanted to create an ambience and menu that reflects that. This is food and a culture we know very well.”
Solis said Jade Mountain might return in the future at a different location when he can put a team in place to provide management and the restaurant’s varied Asian cuisine. “Right now all our focus is on Los Gorditos,” said Solis. He noted all menu entries, including breakfast, can be had throughout the day. Solis and family also own The Lumber Mill and Fratello’s.
At the end of March, David Schnalzer and family bought the building and business opportunity of the well-established Idyllwild Automotive on lower Pine Crest Avenue across from the old county library location. “We want people to know we’re locally owned and are here to serve the community,” said Carli Nichols. The family also owns Schnalzer Electric. David Schnalzer, Trevor McWilliams and Matt McKenzie, along with Carli, provide service and management at Idyllwild Automotive. “David and Trevor grew up together,” said Carli. “Matt has over ten years of automotive experience and was trained at Wyoming Technical Institute in Laramie, Wyoming.”
Idyllwild Automotive is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.