(WKBN) – Between now and the first of next year, five new restaurant-bars will have opened between downtown Youngstown and downtown Warren. Two new places are currently breaking ground — examples of how the downtown areas of the Mahoning Valley’s two largest cities have become popular places to invest.
Sometime after Jan. 1, 2020, the former Commonwealth Land Title building on N. Phelps Street in Youngstown will become Gringo’s Tacos and Tequila.
“College is booming, students are growing. So just thought it was a good thing to grow and be a part of,” said Ken Vigorito, one of several partners involved with Gringo’s.
Sixteen miles north, on Courthouse Square in Warren, Jacked Steakhouse opened last Thursday after completing its renovations.
“So lucky and fortunate to be in downtown Warren with the growth and so many things going on,” said Jacked owner Angela Price.
Price’s renovations of the historic downtown Warren building took four months. Vigorito’s will take at least that long, maybe longer. He’s taking what was a series of offices and making it into a bar.
“There will be a knee wall with the garage doors in the front, both sides. So it’ll have more of a uniform look in the front of the building,” Vigorito said.
And while Jacked specializes in meat…
“A good steak is a good steak,” Price said.
Gringo’s has brought in Mexico City native Jorge Carrano to make its tacos. He also owns Margherita’s Grille in Girard.
“We’re planning to do a little bit more of my roots. A little bit more traditional Mexican/original Mexican put into a taco form,” Carrano said.
Three blocks from Gringo’s — on Front Street across from the new Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre — Earl Winner plans to take an old building and make it Tavern 208 Bar and Grill. He, like Gringo’s, just needs final approval from the city to get started.
Last month in downtown Warren, CharBenay’s Wine on the River also opened. West & Main, also on Courthouse Square, is set to open Sept. 3.
“More things are happening in downtown Warren — the Robins Theatre, the Amphitheater, the new winery. I mean, there’s just so much growth and so many things to do down here that people just aren’t aware of,” Price said.
Gringo’s will also be located in the block of N. Phelps Street between W. Commerce and W. Federal streets, which the city plans to close this winter and reopen next summer as a pedestrian plaza. The owners of Gringo’s are thrilled about that.