From Chinese to Mexican food
South Korean native Young Park tried a Chinese-food restaurant (Springs Wok) for three years, but business was “very slow,” he said.
Willing to try something altogether different, he's worked with long-time area chef Ruben Aragon to change the menu to Mexican cuisine.
The new name is Spruce Grill (based on the street address, 125 N. Spruce St.). Located just south of Bijou Street, the eatery is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner (dine in or carry out). The phone is 227-7024.
“There are too many Chinese restaurants,” explained Aragon, who has been in the restaurant business since he was a teen-ager in Albuquerque.
His career has included ownership of two pizza restaurants in Pueblo and the former El Burrito restaurant in Colorado Springs, plus 17 years cooking a variety of dishes at a Cripple Creek casino.
He hopes his style of cooking (which he describes as “New Mexican”) will catch on with local diners. The menu also includes some typical American fare, such as burgers, sandwiches and hot wings. And, people can still find two Chinese-food items: egg rolls and wontons.
Formerly a business administrator, Park migrated to the United States eight years ago. His sister, Hui Yon Park, owns the Dale Street Café.
He and Aragon met through Aragon's son Mario, who is Park's insurance agent. Ruben had decided to retire, but after a month of that he said he was “going crazy” without a project.
Obviously Park needed convincing that Aragon's cuisine was the best way to go. But it's clear he kept an open mind. Not only would it be a major culinary switch, his only previous samples of Mexican meals had been fast-food.
Westside Pioneer article