After a four-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, El Guapo, a restaurant on Frederick Road in Catonsville, is moving forward with its plans to open.
The owners of the local State Fare restaurant plan to officially open their new eatery sometime next month.
Evan Brown and Keith Holsey, co-owners of the restaurant, signed a lease for the building after the proprietors of Sea Hunt Inn, a local crab restaurant, announced its closing in February.
The restaurant is across the street from State Fare and plans to serve Mexican, Salvadoran and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Although the restaurant has taken steps toward opening, it is unclear when it will be able to safely do so.
“At this point it all depends on the restrictions with COVID,” Holsey said.
Brown said the original plan was for the restaurant to open in May, however, the decision was made to delay the opening to comply with social-distancing guidelines.
“[We wanted] to be careful with the amount of people we have in the building at a time,” he said. “It was much safer to do what we did than to jam [the restaurant] full of people.”
Brown said the restaurant plans to use the same safety precautions employed at State Fare. Employees will wear masks and gloves, practice social distancing and receive regular temperature checks, while the restaurant will be open at half capacity.
Despite the challenges, Holsey felt it necessary to move forward with the opening.
“We feel like we will be adding another restaurant to all the other great restaurants in Catonsville,” he said.
Brown, too, said he hopes the restaurant will add to the dining experience in Catonsville.
“Each of these restaurants bring their own personality and I hope we can add to that,” he said. “There are a lot of unique spots and I hope this will be one more.”
Joe Poisal, president of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said it means a lot for the community to be able to open a restaurant at a time when many have faced challenges.
“I think this restaurant is one example of how vibrant the business climate is in Catonsville,” he said. “These restaurants are continuing to make it through these tough times and they are relying on the community to help support them.”