Within a year, the former Two Senoritas Mexican Restaurant may begin a new life and reopen as a private club and pool hall.
With the bar bringing in more of a profit than food sales and with the popularity of pool league competitions and tournaments at nearby venues like The Hangar Bar and the American Legion, Jorge Gasca – whose sister and business partner owns the former restaurant – made the decision to change business models.
They settled on changing the business to a private club that would host American Poolplayers Association – or APA – league events and tournaments because the APA manages the pool aspect of the business and makes its money from league memberships and tournament fees while the venue profits from – according to Gasca – “quarters in the pool tables, and from alcohol and food sales.”
While the Greenville City Council, at its meeting last week, did approve a conditional use permit for the new business format, the path to gaining that approval proved rocky, in part because members of the Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-1 against recommending that permit one week earlier.
“They felt that it was an entry way to the city,” said Greenville Community Development Director Steve Methven – referring to the property’s location at 5000 I-30 – as he explained the reasons why members of the Planning and Zoning Commission were against granting the conditional use permit.
“They brought up that there are already other nearby bars and ones that host pool tournaments,” Methven added.
In addition to seeking approval to open another bar in the area, Gasca also felt the need – at last week’s council meeting – to address an incident that happened shortly before Two Senoritas closed, while he was taking off from work and a large group “took over the place” and occupied several of the adjacent hotel, the Knight’s Inn’s, parking spaces.
“We did have an incident, when … there was a fraternity that walked in through the closed section (the restaurant side after it closed, and the bar was still open) and before my bartender realized what was going on … all my furniture (on the restaurant side) had been moved – tables, chairs and everything had been moved out of the way and they took over,” Gasca explained.
“Also, what happened was the hotel behind us called the police because there were so many people taking up their parking spots, so they were upset … which is something that should have never happened and will never happen again.
I’m a stickler for policies, rules and the law,” Gasca said. “I’m not even a bar person, but that’s where the money’s at.”
During a public hearing about the seeking on the conditional use permit, a frequent patron of Two Senoritas spoke in favor of giving the revamped venue a chance.
“It serves a very big need for the community,” Scott Brown said. “Two Senoritas appealed to a very blue collar crowd. It’s really a wonderful place to go, and everybody that I see when I go out now, that I talk to they ask ‘Is it gonna come back? Are we gonna be able to have that again?’
“It would be a real shame if we let that go away, because it is family and friends to a lot of people,” Brown added. “Don’t let that escape. That one isolated incident is not what that place is.”
The argument was also made by a few city council members that leaving the building vacant could be a bigger concern than opening another bar in the area. Councilman Al Atkins, in particular, pointed out that with the nearby former Collin Street Bakery building still vacant, that having Two Senoritas closed as well might not represent the city very well for drivers on I-30.
After the discussion, the council approved the conditional use permit with a 5-1 vote.