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Laguna Grande prepares to open near big lake

Mike Murphy
mmurphy@messengerpostmedia.com
Omar Garcia and wife Abigail are getting ready to open Laguna Grande, in the space formerly occupied by Catch 407 on Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua.

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CANANDAIGUA — Omar Garcia and his wife Abigail were this close to opening their new Mexican restaurant, but the coronavirus pandemic had other plans.

Instead, the Garcias, who were high school sweethearts before their marriage eight years ago, are planning to open Laguna Grande — in the space at 407 Lakeshore Drive formerly occupied by the steak, seafood and raw bar restaurant Catch 407 — shortly after the Fourth of July weekend.

“With this chaos, everything kind of stopped,” Omar Garcia said. “We stopped work when this happened because we didn’t know how everything was going to go and how things were going to turn out. We paused and waited for this to go.”

With the Finger Lakes region slowly reopening from pandemic-induced restrictions — restaurants are just now being allowed to open for indoor dining, but at reduced capacity with social distancing in mind — the Garcias are getting ready to introduce customers to their sit-down Mexican restaurant with outdoor patio and full-service bar.

“We’re going to give people a good vibe and a good experience,” Omar said.

The Garcias, who both have been in the restaurant business since they were out of high school, come to the Canandaigua area from Lewis Center, near Columbus, Ohio, where their family operates Iguanas Fresh Mexican Grill, a fast casual restaurant concept.

They are working with Joel Aguirre, a good friend and partner based in Ithaca on Laguna. They have remodeled the spacious interior, adding touches such as artwork and photos. You won’t be able to miss the big parrot and life-sized statue — with a bottle in one hand and large cigar in the other — by the front door.

In between, they also have been fielding questions from the curious.

“Since we’ve been here, a lot of people have been stopping by the restaurant and saying good things about it,” Omar said. “Good things that keep us motivated to open up and get this place ready.”

While the final menu is being finalized, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fish tacos, fajitas, carnitas and other dishes will be offered for lunch and dinner. Some are spicy for those who like it hot, while others will satisfy those who don’t.

Vegetarian and some vegan options will be available as well.

“I hope people like it,” Abigail said.

Their specialty is the fish taco, which is a popular dish at the Ohio restaurant. And as many will attest, a good margarita can enhance any meal.

“We’ll focus on that too and give a good experience on the drinks,” Omar said.

At least at the beginning, Omar will be in the kitchen while Abigail will be upfront, either as hostess or behind the bar, wherever she’s needed. For this husband-and-wife team, a new restaurant in a new town means a new experience for them and for customers.

“It’s our goal to have a successful business. We’ve been blessed to have people around us who have been good to us. I think that’s what’s keeping us going,” Omar said. “We made it past the hardest time so hopefully, we’re here to make this place very successful. We’re going to work hard toward it.”

Acclaimed winemaker joins Heron Hill

Jordan Harris, who has been recognized as one of Canada's top up-and-coming winemakers and more recently as a leader in the Virginia wine industry, will be joining Heron Hill Winery as winemaker. The winery, in business since 1977, has locations in Canandaigua and Hammondsport.

Harris was named Top 40 under 40 Tastemakers with Wine Enthusiast and he was awarded Top 100 Most Influential Winemakers in the USA through Intowine.com.

“This appointment of Jordan Harris as winemaker will continue our ongoing goal in increasing quality, ensuring our success and Heron Hill's legacy,” said Eric Frarey, managing partner of Heron Hill Winery.

Heron Hill Winery also has begun offering free direct shipping to consumers as a permanent policy.

Eat, Drink and Be Murphy

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the Daily Messenger: https://mpnnow.com/subscribenow.

Laguna Grande has a unique decor that customers will want to see when the Mexican sit-down restaurant opens in early July.