Something's happening to the building formerly occupied by the short-lived DaDa's Bistro (520 Southwest Boulevard). Daniel and Angela Guzman and David and Amabelle Kimball opened there last fall in the space occupied not once but twice by veteran chef and restaurateur Jose "Don Pepe" Fernandez. Like Fernandez's venues, DaDa's didn't last; the vacant building is now being painted a very vivid blue.
Fernandez, meanwhile, moved a few doors down to 700 Southwest Boulevard. For Café Sevilla, he and his partners gave the old California Taqueria an extensive and sumptuous remodeling last year. That showplace included a second-floor dining room where flamenco musicians and dancers performed on the weekends but it recently closed, too. But by the time you read this, it will be open again, this time as a traditional Mexican restaurant called Casa Grande.
A block south, the building that housed Café Expresso III (723 Southwest Boulevard) now needs a new tenant. After running the combination coffeehouse and restaurant for three years, owners Luke Heckbart and Pedro Espino opted not to renew their lease.
"We loved the restaurant and the wonderful people we met," Heckbart says, "but we have our hands full right now."
Heckbart and Espino are nearly finished turning a 122-year-old home at 1812 Washington into the 1812 Overture Bed & Breakfast. Guests won't be able to check in until next spring, but the owners will begin serving private dinner parties in October.
Heckbart and Espino will do the cooking, but Heckbart isn't sure whether the Guatemalan-born Espino will prepare any of the dishes from his native country, which were popular at Café Expresso III. The B&B will have a Guatemalan suite, in addition to Asian, Victorian and Princess suites.
And on the subject of princess suites, the former Opal's Kitchen (423 Southwest Boulevard), which briefly served up fried chicken and drag queens, is sitting empty, just waiting for someone to turn it into a Mexican restaurant, too.