When Dominic Mariano and Jamel Cherif, friends from Jamaica Plain, heard about the reopening of El Pelon Taqueria they made a special trip to the Fenway restaurant.
“I’m definitely glad it’s back in the area,” Mariano said in between bites of freshly made tamales and enchiladas Thursday. “It’s one of the things that you go without for a while and you get a craving for it.”
El Pelon was one of six restaurants destroyed in a January 2009 fire that tore through the building on Peterborough Street.
After months of sitting idle and construction delays, tangible progress can now be seen – and tasted.
El Pelon was the first of the restaurants to reopen when it started cooking again Tuesday.
“The highlight is right now,” said El Pelon owner Jim Hoben while taking inventory. “Everyone’s back to work. Everyone’s happy.
The restaurants have been institutions in the Fenway serving college students, young professionals and residents, some for more than a decade.
Marty Thornton, the co-owner of Thornton’s Fenway Grille, said he was hoping to open just after Thanksgiving.
“That’s all I’ve wanted to do is open back up here. I’ve missed it,” he said. “We’re pretty excited.”
Three of the original six restaurants are on their way to returning:
Thornton’s Fenway Grille
El Pelon Taqueria
Rod Dee Thai