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Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen, 8717 International Drive (Orlando): October 2016   10 comments

Posted at 2:25 am in closing


Well, Don Pablo's continues to dwindle away to nothing. As I wrote here, I used to like to go to the Columbia Mall location. Then when that closed, I was working in Augusta and used to like to go to that location. Then that closed, and I would hit the Charleston location from time to time, then that closed and I would stop by the Charlotte location once or twice a year, then that closed, and I would try to go to the Arlington location when I was in DC on business (hard if I had no car..), then that job evaporated and I would stop by the Atlanta location once a year or so, then that closed and I would hit the Greenville location when I had a leisurely weekend, then that closed, but I figured I could still hit the Orlando location on one of my periodic runs through Florida..

Well, no more. Orlando closed in October after the chain filed for Chapter 11 on 4 October 2016, as I found well after the fact.

It wasn't a total loss, driving down International, I had seen another Mexican place, Chuy's, so I backed up to there and had an excellent chile relleno, probably the best one I've had since I was in San Antonio.

Oh, and I don't think I know of a good way to be fired


but this *definitely* is not it.

Written by ted on December 23rd, 2016

Tagged with , , , , , ,

10 Responses to 'Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen, 8717 International Drive (Orlando): October 2016'

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  1. I ate at Chuy's in Greenville. Had never heard of them before. Great food. I was in Greenville on business for a week and Chuy's was next door to the Holiday Inn that I stayed. Ate at Chuy's three times in five days. I wonder why Columbia is so hard pressed to get restaurants like Greenville can


    28 Dec 16 at 4:59 pm

  2. For some reason Columbia has not supported good Mexican restaurants in particular. Every single one of them has closed. I'm not including the very-cheap chains, they're okay but not as good as a bit more upscale place.

    Is Greenville experiencing a spill-over effect from nearby Asheville's booming restaurant scene? When I lived in the upstate in the late 70's Greenville didn't have much of interest.


    29 Dec 16 at 4:57 pm

  3. It's not just Mexican chains, though indeed we've never had a Chi-Chis, Chevys, or Rio-Bravo. For some reason, Columbia doesn't get a lot of the chain restaurants that many other similiar sized cities get (or got): Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang, Bennigans, Logan's, TGI Fridays (couldn't keep..), etc


    29 Dec 16 at 6:22 pm

  4. The Don Pablo's in Greenville used to be one of my favorite places to eat. Then about 2009-10 started to come the little signs of a restaurant that was losing the thread; every time I went back something else was wrong, and I finally lost confidence in the place after a screw-up with our check that took a phone call or two to resolve. Between that and wondering about the quality of what may (or may not) be happening in the kitchen, I haven't been back since. I truly hate what happened, because when that Don Pablo's was in its good days, it couldn't be beat and I still miss it.

    Alaska Jill

    30 Dec 16 at 10:45 pm

  5. I feel like the Mexican restaurants we have are locally owned between Chapala (Murraywood), San Jose, Real Mexico (2421 Bush River Road) but I'm not sure about La Fogata...I don't go to them often but have found folks to enjoy them with occasionally...I haven't heard of any of the ones ted mentioned though...

    I remember us having TGI Friday's and enjoyed it several times and wonder where if/when they'll reopen where they'll wind up...Cheesecake Factory & PF Chang's I'm not sure how I'd feel about but Logan's has a restaurant in Sumter I've been eying for several years...


    30 Dec 16 at 11:14 pm

  6. I ate at Tijuana Flats yesterday on Percival Road. It was "Just okay". I will not make a special trip to go back.


    31 Dec 16 at 9:21 pm

  7. I ate at Whataburger yesterday. It was awesome!!

    Has anyone tried the Puerto Rican place on Percival? Can't remember the name right now....


    1 Jan 17 at 12:39 am

  8. I haven't made it to the Puerto Rican restaurant Homer is asking about but I checked and Google Maps reveals it to be called La Isla Bonita Restaurante (1701 Percival Road).

    I've been wondering about Wing Stop...they have a location a door or two down from the Tijuana Flats Rick spoke of but they also have one at 116 Dreher Street in West Columbia...I've been debating about whether or not I'd like to try them...


    1 Jan 17 at 5:18 pm

  9. Wing stop isn't bad. I had it twice. Nothing to brag home about. Although it seems like fast food, it's not. If you walk in and order to go, be prepared to wait 15 mins or more.

    La Isla Bonita was the previous name of the restaurant on Percival. I ride by it all the time and can't remember what the name is currently.


    2 Jan 17 at 1:05 am

  10. Ever since Taco CID and El Menchaca closed I have not found another Mexican restaurant that can satisfy my Mexican food cravings the same way. I understand some may think Taco CID was similar to a Taco Bell but not true. I craved their #1 dinner. And El Menchaca was undoubtedly the best Mexican food in Columbia. I have found restaurants that are good but I don't crave their food like I did with Taco CID and El Menchaca.


    2 Jan 17 at 7:57 am

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