A Mexican restaurant in East Arlington and a Thai one in the center are changing owners.
The new owners of Zocalo Cocina Mexicana and Thai Moon went before the Board of Selectmen Monday to apply for new operating and beer and wine licenses. Both restaurants received the licenses in unanimous votes.
Zocalo’s three new owners, Nicolas and Maria Portillo and Jose Landaverde, all of whom own a third of the business, were represented by an attorney at Monday’s meeting. Nicolas Portillo, a native of El Salvador, already owns Portillo Food Market in East Boston, while Landaverde has been a waiter at Zocalo for almost a decade. The three incorporated as Arlington Restaurant Group.
“We plan [on] operating the restaurant exactly as it operates right now,” Portillo wrote on the application. “No changes of any kind to [the] premises – menu or hours of operation.”
The three bought the restaurant (the business assets, not the real estate) from Armida Amor and Ricardo Ramos for $152,500, according to the application. They also signed a five-year lease with Arlington-based Chios Realty Trust for $2,000 per month, $24,000 per year. The lease began on July 1 of last year.
Zocalo, at 203A Broadway, opened in 1997 as Ole Mexican Grill. It became Zocalo in 2005.
Thai Moon, at 663 Mass. Ave., will also have three new owners – Phantika “Tammy” Cusanno, Pimolmas Khamlue and Phunsak Wiriyanrelerd. The three owners, who incorporated as Phantastic Thai, were also represented by an attorney Monday, and they too said they plan to keep operations the same.
“[Cusanno] stated that this is just a change in ownership and everything else is staying the same,” according to the application. “[She] stated that the hours, menu and employees are all staying the same.”
Cusanno, the restaurant’s new president, will own 70 percent of the business. Wiriyanrelerd and Khamlue, both current employees (Wiriyanrelerd is the chef), will own 20 and 10 percent, respectively. Khamlue will serve as the restaurant’s manager and secretary.
Cusanno, a native of Thailand, previously worked at Ban Thai in Waltham and Lemon Thai in Somerville, according to the application.
The three bought the restaurant (again, just the business) for $160,000 and paid another $4,000 for inventory and $1,000 in initial start-up costs, according to the application. They have a six-year lease with options with Woburn-based Whiteacre Realty Trust for $4,353 per month, $52,237 per year. The lease, which began Feb. 1, includes insurance, tax and use of a dumpster.
Selectmen wished all of the new owners luck and thanked them for choosing Arlington.