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The drive for Mount Zion-area residents wanting to get their fill of south of the border food and drinks has gotten shorter, again

Las Margaritas opened last month at 1745 Village Parkway in Mount Zion, filling the spot that had been filled by another Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda.

Co-owner Arturo Reyes said he and his business partners, Pachi Mortero and Julio Garcia, previously worked for Reyes’ uncle at Coronas Mexican Bar and Grill at 2350 S. Mount Zion Road.

After working in the restaurant industry for years, Reyes said the three men decided it was time to come together and go into business for themselves.

“It was kind of like when a little bird starts to flap its wings for the first time,” he said. “It was just time for us to do something on our own.”

Reyes knows the former owner of La Hacienda personally, and both decided that location would be perfect for Las Margaritas because all of the equipment they needed was still there.

“It wasn’t going to cost as much for us to open up there,” Reyes said. “This was great for us, because it gives us a chance to start low, and see what we can achieve on our own.”

Reyes knows that his business faces competition from nearby Coronas and El Corral at 3655 E. Route 36. Not only does he believe that Las Margaritas can hold its own against the others, he thinks the restaurant’s signature menu items will stand out and attract customers.

One dish, in particular, that Reyes recommends is the Molcajete Mexicano, which is served in a hot stone and topped with carne asada, grilled chicken, sauteed onions, chopped cactus and homemade chipotle sauce.

“They come back for those dishes. That, and just trying to eat some good food with good service,” Reyes said. “We were employees once, so we know how to treat the customers.”

Las Margaritas is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call (217) 864-1562. 

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Mount Zion also is home to a new sales branch for Aladdin Steel Inc. 

Steve Hittmeier has been promoted to branch manager and has been tasked with staffing and managing the location. The office is located at 436 Sunset Court.

Aladdin Steel Inc., headquartered in Gillespie, Ill., stocks one of the largest and most varied inventories of steel tubing and pipe available in the United States. The company stocks custom sizes, carries a full selection of galvanized pipe, as well as aluminized and galvanized tubing. They provide cutting and de-burring services, and are responsive to special needs.

Aladdin Steel has over 400,000 square feet of inside storage and now stocks more than 20,000 tons of steel tubing and pipe. The company has offices in Illinois and Missouri and services customers throughout the United States.

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On the other end of the county, Forsyth officials announced a Casey's General Store will locate at 111 E. Cox St.

This location currently is an empty lot that has been for sale for months, the village said. The Casey’s will be directly across the highway east of Menards. Casey's has not announced a date for the store to open.

Andrew Zupkoff, Forsyth community and economic development coordinator, said in a news release that Forsyth officials the development provides another nationally recognized brand in the section of the village.

A study of Forsyth’s marketplace showed there is enough support for another gas station and convenience store, Zupkoff said.

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Matthew Bullock Auctioneers, a firm based in Ottawa, is liquidating the contents of the former Ruby Tuesday building at 4405 East U.S. 36.

Bidding for the online-only auction began Aug. 16, and will end at 7 p.m. Sunday, according to auctioneer Matt Bullock. He said that everything from light fixtures, kitchen equipment and the Ruby Tuesday signage will be sold to the public. 

Bullock said that anyone interested in the auction should visit his firm's website, bullockauctioneers.com. Potential bidders can see the equipment in person from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the former restaurant, he said.

Pasadena, Calif.-based restaurant chain Dog Haus has announced it will open a new location at the site.

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Have you opened a business? Have you expanded or moved to a new location? Have you taken ownership of an existing business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to contact Scott Perry at sperry@herald-review.com or call (217)421-7976. Staff Writer Justin Conn contributed to his column.

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Deputy Night Editor

Deputy night editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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