PILSEN — Popular Pilsen restaurant Cantón Regio has been shut down by the city for operating without a license for more than a year, city officials said.
The city slapped the restaurant at 1510 W. 18th St. with a cease-and-desist order Jan. 14 after investigators found it was operating without a valid business license since December 2019 and without a valid corporation since February 2017.
Owners of the Mexican steakhouse also were cited in late December and again last week for allowing indoor dining despite a state-imposed ban to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Cantón Regio owners failed to come into compliance despite “numerous citations and warnings for operating without a license,” said, Isaac Reichman, spokesperson for the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
A first warning on the license was issued in May 2020. They were again cited on Sept. 23 and Dec. 27, city officials said.
“BACP is happy to work with the establishment to resolve these issues and to obtain a license,” Reichman said.
Owner Danny Gutierrez Jr., son of shuttered Nuevo Leon‘s longtime owner, said they are working to expedite a new license for Cantón Regio and set up a functioning corporation to reopen.
The corporation was associated with the family’s beloved Nuevo Leon restaurant across the street, Gutierrez Jr. said. When Nuevo Leon burned down in 2016, the restaurant never reopened, and the corporation was dissolved in 2017.
Gutierrez Jr. said an accountant failed to carry the corporation over to Cantón Regio, which opened in January 2016.
“We hope to be back in business as soon as possible,” he said.
When asked about the citations for indoor dining, Gutierrez Jr. admitted the restaurant continued to serve family and longtime customers indoors, calling it “an honest mistake.”
“We have been around, with Nuevo Leon, we go back 54 or 55 years,” Gutierrez said. “We take full responsibility. What can I say? Only those who run a business know how tough it is to see their employees without a job and their customers without a place to sit down and eat.”
Gutierrez said many other restaurants were flouting the ban on indoor dining while it was in place.
“But I guess they have to use someone as an example,” Gutierrez said.
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