Villa Del Sol, a popular Mexican restaurant on U.S. 30 in Merrillville, is expanding, adding a second location in Hobart.
The "down-to-earth eatery and cantina" plans a grand opening this weekend at 200 Main St. in downtown Hobart. Villa Del Sol has served authentic Mexican fare, margaritas, sangria, American favorites like burgers, and fusion items like enchilada burgers since 2012, and eventually may open even more locations across Northwest Indiana.
The Hobart location will have a family dining section, a 21-and-over bar separated by a wall and a patio with lakefront views.
"In the springtime, we'll open a beautiful patio overlooking Lake George," owner Corey Gutierrez said.
It's located in the old police station and has a cell by the entrance.
"There's a little bit of history," Gutierrez said. "We're trying to figure out how to feature some of the other cells in a restaurant."
The Gutierrez family has been renovating the building, which had never previously been a restaurant, for the past 18 months. They wanted their second restaurant to be in Hobart because they live there and see good thing happening downtown, Gutierrez said.
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Several new businesses, including the Librarium Cafe, Dark Ground Cafe, Montego Bay Grille and Three Monkeys Pub, have opened in downtown Hobart in recent years. The Three Monkeys Pub owners also did extensive renovations to the historic Hobart Art Theatre, adding a stage for live entertainment and an Alamo Drafthouse-like dining area for dinner and drinks during a movie.
"I think people believe in Hobart and care about the community," Gutierrez said. "It makes it a great place to live."
Villa Del Sol added 10 to 15 employees in Hobart, and now has about 30-40 overall, including chefs Brandon Gutierrez and Javiar Mendez. They make entrees that range between $9 for lunch and $15.
Top sellers include fajitas, tacos and guacamole.
"We have a great atmosphere," he said. "We are family-owned and our roots here are deep. The food is good. The menu has authentic Mexican options and food with American flair."
The grand opening includes $2 margaritas all weekend and a free order of churros upon request.
For more information, call 219-940-3785 or find Villa Del Sol on Facebook.