El Sombrero to hang its hat in old Fountain Restaurant

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MILTON-FREEWATER -- Owners of the Walla Walla restaurant chain El Sombrero will open a third store here by the end of the year in what used to be the Fountain Restaurant, 190 S. Main St.

"I have always liked the location of the Fountain Restaurant, and I always hoped that we could put a restaurant there," said co-owner Carlos Arceo.

Last month, owners signed a lease agreement and applied for alcohol permits. Remodeling will begin in the next couple weeks, Arceo said.

The El Sombrero restaurants are a family owned business that Arceo started in 1991 when he purchased a Mexican restaurant at 4 W. Oak St. In 2006 he and his partners purchased La Casita at 428 Ash St., opening� their second El Sombrero.

In April of this year, another Milton-Freewater Mexican restaurant expanded into Walla Walla when owners of La Ramada, 6 S. Columbia St., purchased the Ti Kalli Mexican restaurant, 1708 E. Isaacs Ave.

Arceo said that relations between him and the owners of La Ramada are good, and he feels strongly that the Milton-Freewater and Walla Walla communities can support both restaurant chains.

"They think they can make it here. We think we can make it there," Arceo said.

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