On Tuesday, Oaxaca Restaurant and Cantina, the downtown Phoenix eatery and 30-year-plus landmark near the state Capitol, closed amid a hubbub of activity involving the police and an ominous sign on door stating "closed for plumbing repairs."
"The police aren't usually involved in these situations," said Edmundo Hidalgo, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., the lender the original owners, the Verdugo family, used when deciding to expand the original location three years ago. "The family's attorney called the police to ensure everyone was following the correct transition procedures."
Hidalgo tells me the Verdugo family opted to go the route of a trustee sale versus bankruptcy and that the transition involves both the original location and the location at Sky Harbor International Airport (both were closed on Tuesday).
The process started about 10 weeks ago, so why the fake plumbing sign on the door?
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"I think the family thought they may have found an investor," Hidalgo says, "or they were still trying to find ways to gather resources to prevent the sale."
Hidalgo says his priority is the workers and, although he could not give me a date, said the intent is to reopen Oaxaca as soon as possible and look for a new owner, or owners, in the process.
We're working at getting ahold of the original owners to get their side of things and we'll report back as soon as we do.