A longtime Tucson Mexican restaurant that had weathered expansions, contractions and seemingly endless road construction interferences closed this week.
Las Cazuelitas de Tucson locked its doors after serving lunch on Tuesday, ending a nine-year run at the Grant Inn, 1365 W. Grant Road, on the eastbound side of Interstate 10.
But owner and founder Abelardo Frisby posted on the restaurant's website that he is scouting a new location. He could not be reached Friday to comment.
Grant Inn owner Kevin Park said the restaurant's closing came a day after Park temporarily closed the hotel. Park said he stopped accepting guests Monday and did not reopen until Friday to give himself a few days to sort out the business's finances.
Las Cazuelitas started on Tucson's south side in 1998 and had grown to three locations by 2010. The Grant Road restaurant was the lone survivor after the other locations closed within months of one another in 2011.
In addition to the restaurant space, Frisby ran the adjacent 15,000-square-foot events center used for weddings, graduation parties and quinceañeras. Park said he and Frisby have agreed to work together to honor events booked into the center.
Park said he is looking for new tenants for the restaurant and bar.
In an interview in April, Frisby acknowledged his restaurant had fallen on hard times since road construction on Interstate 10 closed the highway from 2007 to 2009.
"We dropped almost 70 percent of our business," he said.
The restaurant was never able to catch its breath, he said, pointing to the follow-up highway project at the Prince Road exit that has been ongoing since fall 2011.
Las Cazuelitas also faced trouble with the county Health Department in summer 2011 when it failed six consecutive inspections. The county threatened to close the restaurant and put it on a provisional license until it finally passed muster in October 2011.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642.