The Lord taketh away but also sometimes giveth.

Many fans of traditional Mexican food were bummed out when the beloved Memo's Taco Mex restaurant closed in Highland last fall.

But another Mexican place with a cult following plans to take over the 40-seat eatery at 2128 45th St. in Porte De L'eau Plaza.

Fat Burrito, which has been stuffing Crown Point residents since 2012, is renovating the restaurant space and hoping to open its second location within the next few months.

Co-owners Ben Parades Rojas and David Huetra De Jesus have been looking to expand for some time because of the brisk business at the original location at 1302 N. Main St. in Crown Point. De Jesus said they hoped to open the Highland Fat Burrito in a few months, possibly as soon as March, but that a lot of renovation still needed to be done.

"We're going to have to do some work in it," he said. "We don't know the date we're going to open yet."

Fat Burrito serves a variety of Mexican fare but is especially known for its huge namesake Mission-style burritos made with a 16-inch tortilla, melted cheese and red or green sauce on the top. They are indeed fat and not for the faint of appetite.


Also in Mexican restaurant news, Asada Grill & Cantina has completed its move from the former Niko's Steak and Seafood just south of downtown Griffith to the much larger former Zuni's House of Pizza at 2907 W. 45th St. in Highland, a short distance from the Griffith border.

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The popular Mexican eatery has been working on the big move since last spring and recently passed final inspections with the town. It's going from a cozy 120-seat space it had been leasing to a much more spacious 250-seat restaurant with a 50-person party room.

Asada has been ranked as one of the top 50 restaurants in the state of Indiana by Yelp reviewers and offers an extensive wine selection to pair with items like whole tilapia and skirt steak.

The grill and cantina is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call 219-934-0400.

Water pipe woes

The wintry fury of the polar vortex took a toll on Region businesses, extending temporary closures.

The popular Tuscan-style Italian trattoria Ciao Bella Ristorante at 1514 U.S. 41 in Schererville was closed for a few days early last week, alarming some. Diners showed up to find a darkened storefront and a sign saying it was closed for maintenance.

Ciao Bella needed to fix frozen water pipes and has since reopened for regular business hours.

Munster Donut, the beloved 24/7 donut shop on Calumet Avenue in Munster, suffered from a similar issue. It closed in anticipation of the -50 windchill Wednesday and remained closed Friday.

"So sorry, we will not be able to open tonight," Munster Donut posted on Facebook Thursday. "We are having issues with the pipes. Please check back for updates. Thank you for your understanding."

Munster Donut's owners said they hoped to reopen by 10 p.m. Friday.


Action Water has been serving Valparaiso by providing water softeners, reverse osmosis systems and bottled water delivery since 2005, and just recently opened its first retail storefront at 316 N 325 E Unit 2 in Valparaiso.

The water treatment company specializes in environmentally safe water filtration systems for homes, offices and restaurants, though the bulk of its business is residential. It delivers water softeners, salt for water softening and five-gallon water cooler jugs across Porter County, with a focus of the Valparaiso area because of the hard water there.

Action Water is owned by Doug Edwards, who has 15 years of experience in the business. Action Water offers free in-home water tests to potential customers.

"We treat well water and city water," manager Torrey Mullins said. "The water in Valparaiso is is between 20 and 25 grains per gallon. It's two to three times as hard as Portage city water, so we have a lot of business in Valpo."

Action Water's new storefront is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call 219-299-8273, visit www.actionwatersolutions.com or find the business on Facebook.


The fast food burger chain Hardee's plans to open a new restaurant at 5223 Franklin St. in Michigan City, and is now hiring crew members.

The St. Louis-based chain is known for its charboiledthickburgers, hand-breaded chicken tenders and for its habit of garnishing specialty burgers with piles of pastrami, pulled pork and other meats.

Hardee's, which once courted controversy with racy television ads aimed at its young male demographic, has multiple locations across central and northeast Indiana. It once had restaurants in Merrillville, Portage and Rensselaer, but they have all closed.


All Starz Barbershop and Beauty Salon has consolidated its Hobart and Lake Station locations into a larger space in the former Paulie's Billiards at 3653 N. Hobart Road in Hobart. It's centrally located between its two former sites.

"Our new location is 2,800 square feet," owner Andrew Concepcion said. "The previous locations were both 1,300 square feet, so this is bigger than both of them."

The 11-year-old business offers haircuts, grooming and beauty services to both men and women.

"We offer modern cuts with a twist, everything from conservative to urban, all styles, all the latest trends," Concepcion said.

All Starz expanded to Lake Station about five or six years ago and built up a loyal clientele there, but Concepcion wanted a single larger location so the barber shop and beauty salon could better serve its clientele.

"We're very busy and it was wearing down our staff if we had one or two people missing," he said. "By putting it together, we have 10 barbers on any given day. We can serve our customers better and it's lighter on us. The flow's a lot better and the wait's not as long. We do recommend appointments at least a day in advance, but also take walk-ins."

The new barbershop has 15 barber chairs and 12 employees and is looking to hire.

All Starz is open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. It's closed on Sundays.

For more information call 219-942-9100 or find the business on Facebook or Instagram.

Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.