Big changes in store for El Meson restaurant

Popular West Carrollton restaurant getting a face lift

El Meson co-owner Bill Castro knows that the inability to evolve can be the death of any business. That is one reason he says two critical areas at his family’s popular restaurant at 903 E Dixie Dr. in West Carrollton will be remodeled.

Castro said work in the bar will start in about 30 days. The facelift in the restaurant’s main dining room — “The Meson” — will be more gradual.

“Every time you come in, you are going to notice a new change,” Castro said.

The restaurant will remain open during the renovations. Wood, glass and tile will be among the materials used for the business’ renovation work.

Castro said the restaurant will still have a Hispanic flair, but its appearance will be more sleek and welcoming.

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“(The change) is going to be more aesthetic than it is going to be structural,” he said. “Sometimes that is all we need.”

Established in 1978 by Castro’s parents, Herman and Gloria Castro, El Meson spotlights dishes from a country in Central America, South America or the Caribbean.

Read: Good Eats! West Carrollton mainstay serving up empanadas as vibrant as the countries they represent

Brazilian dishes and cocktails like caipirinha — that country’s national drink — are the current theme. El Meson is one of dozens of local restaurants participating in the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Winter 2014 Restaurant Week.

Participating restaurants will serve three-course meals that will be sold during the week for $20.14, $25.14 or $30.14 Sunday through Feb. 1. One dollar from each meal will be donated to a local charity.

High-top, bistro-style seating will replace traditional table tops in the bar area and it will have an area for entertainment and a special food menu. There are currently 40 seats in the bar. Castro said there will be about 30 when the upgrade is complete.

The layout will support the concept of dining slowly, he said.

“Go to the bar first. Have a drink and then go to the dining area. We want life to slow down and dining should be part of that. The Europeans do it, the Latins do it,” Castro said. “We need to make dining an event.”

The dining area will become more intimate, dropping from about 80 seats to about 60.

“We’ve dimmed down the lights. We are going to make more round tables instead of long (tables) and 8 and 10 tops,” Castro said. “We are going to soften the walls and make it so that you are going to go in there and feel like you want stay, like our patio, like our solarium.”

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