A downtown barbecue place served up its last plates of food at that location Wednesday.
Pollo Bandido, at the corner of Lewis and West Main streets, closed due to owner Roger Herrera’s health issues, including a problem with his back, he told The State Journal.
In order to recover, he is taking some time off and plans to serve Pollo Bandido’s full menu at another restaurant he owns, Tacos & Tortas, starting sometime next month. TT’s is located at 172 Versailles Road.
“My kids told me that while I recover they will be able to help me and support me and they say ‘Daddy, you need to stay away from work.’ I have really good support from my family,” Herrera said.
During its last day, workers put up a few handwritten signs in Pollo Bandido, explaining the reason to close and plan to move to TT’s.
“We apologize for any inconvenience and thanks for your understanding and support,” the posters read.
Herrera said he plans to teach the staff at TTs how to serve the menu and will continue to offer catering. He said that, right now, no one can cover for him at Pollo Bandido if he is out for the day.
Herrera opened Pollo Bandido three years ago this month to offer homemade traditional Mexican food, rather than Tex-Mex. The menu included ribs, chicken, pulled pork, pupusas and tortas.
Mike and Marlyn Waford, two nearby residents who said that they frequented Pollo Bandido, stopped at the restaurant for a meal on Wednesday. Marlyn said that the two would be willing “to go up the hill” for Herrera and the Pollo Bandido menu at TTs.
She said she will miss the ribs and Mike said he enjoyed the potato balls.
“We wish Roger the best of health,” Mike said.
Herrera said he plans to explore reopening a downtown location in the future.
One of his favorite memories from Pollo Bandido was when a gentleman who was about 84 years old came into the restaurant after someone told him that the ribs were so tender, “he could eat them without his dentures.” The man was waiting on a new set of dentures that didn’t hurt his mouth. Herrera said that the man got up from his table after taking one bite of food. Herrera followed him out of the store to ask if something was wrong with his food. The man was just putting his dentures back in the car because he really didn’t need them to eat the ribs.
Herrera said he isn’t sure about future plans for the West Main building, which is listed for sale for $205,000 on the website of Century 21 Simpson & Associates. The website says Herrera's lease expires next month and that the building has generated $22,200 annually, or $1,850 per month, in rental income.
According to Franklin County Property Valuation Administrator records, the building is owned by Bersson Properties LLC of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“Thanks to all of the community for the support for during the time that I was here and for the support that they do as a friend, as a family,” Herrera said.