When Jaime’s Spanish Village closed in July of 2010, a once vibrant section of Red River went dark. People who had once frequented the historic restaurant, which operated for nearly 80 years, wondered what would become of the location. That question was recently answered when it was announced that Austin live music and restaurant entrepreneur Doug Guller has turned the former Jaime’s Spanish Village into Pelóns, a cozy new Tex-Mex restaurant with an enticing menu.
Guller, who is also involved with other Austin venues including The Parish, Beale Street Tavern, and Bikinis Sports Bar, says his motivation for the project was to preserve this location and give it new life. ”If it had become condos or something like that, we would have missed out on a good piece of Austin,” Guller said. “We wanted to be able to give back to Red River.”
To help build the brand and determine what was best for the street, Guller and his team worked with Guerrilla Suit, the creative agency who helped develop Transmission Entertainment, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and the Mohawk, and has worked with a number of Austin businesses.
With the history of the location in mind, the renovation incorporated pieces of Jaime’s Spanish Village into the updated decor of Pelóns, including a large piece of original artwork that was peeled from the wall and hung in the dining room, and a brick etched with Jaime’s name that was dug out and now rests prominently above a fireplace in the middle of the restaurant.
Along with signature items like Tortilla Encrusted Whitefish and Crispy Sesame Avocado Strips, the menu at Pelóns will feature a number of traditional dishes including enchiladas, fajitas and burritos. The restaurant’s name was inspired by Guller’s employees who lovingly refer to him as Pelón, or ‘bald man.’
“We certainly didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” Guller says. “This is not an upscale place, it’s for everyone. Whether you’re in jeans or shorts, headed to a mosh pit, or just on a Friday night date.”
A year in the making, the space has been updated with a new kitchen, new plumbing, new electrical, and a spacious new wood patio. Working with a team of Austin’s best designers, including architect Michael Hsu and landscape designer Mark Word, Guller also transformed the adjacent 508 house from its traditional use as the Stubb’s Green Room into a casual, patio-lined cocktail lounge. The renovated space will also make room for Zorros, a patio food cart serving a variety of tacos, gorditas, and appetizers.
Located across the street from Stubbs at 802 Red River Street, Pelóns will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM. For updates, go to www.pelonsaustin.com and follow on Facebook @PelonsAustin and on Twitter @pelonsaustin.
Photos by David Weaver: