Local restaurants flourish despite economy

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 9:16pm

Despite all the recent big name restaurants burning out, there are a few whose businesses are sizzling, like Kipp's Cheese Steaks in downtown El Paso. Owner Kipper Gray opened a second location a few months ago.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone that can do that, this for 30, 40, to 50 years and keep customers coming back and I think the reason they're able to and the reason that we've shared in some of that success, is that it's consistency of product, service and atmosphere," said Gray.

And his customers seem to agree.

"The food is good, the quality and the prices; that's what makes me come back," said first time patron Becky Molina.

Gray says there's something else that makes his restaurant special.

"More importantly than that, it's just becoming friends with all our customers," said Gray.

So what happens that makes well known restaurants like Cappettos or Jaxon's close their doors?

"What I'm thinking is the competition. There's so many restaurants that have opened. I'm just assuming there's too many restaurants out there," said patron Mariana Vasquez.

Nick Bauer is the regional manager for a number of restaurants including the new Bikini Joe's set to open in November. He thinks there are a number of reasons that a restaurant struggles in El Paso.

"A combination of the economy. The restaurants coming in across the border and there is an increase in competition as well from American restaurateurs and the clientele changes every year. So you have to be willing to change and evolve with them," said Bauer.

He says seeing other restaurants go through hard times keeps him and his staff on their toes.

"We don't take our customers for granted, and we try to evolve as a company every day and this is just another day, opening another restaurant," said Bauer.

He says he takes it table by table and customer by customer.

"Being consistent on food quality, and also being fresh and new, everything you try to do. You can't do what you were doing 3 years ago," said Bauer.

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