Fans of rincon market have had to wait a year for the popular market to be back in business, but their patience was to be rewarded with a grand reopening set for June 30. Closed since July 2, 2013, when an electrical fire filled the eatery and gathering spot with toxic smoke, it’s been a labor of love by the Abbott family to tear down the UNSAFE TO OCCUPY sign and get back on-line.
Originally built in 1926, the entire facility had to be gutted before restoration could get underway, which led to delays by the dozen. Smoke-damaged products had to be inventoried before they could be disposed of. Standing water left by firefighters had to be extracted and the building dried out. Roof repairs were halted until insurance questions could be cleared up. The electrical system in the building’s interior was upgraded and a new ceiling installed and flooring replaced. Because numerous unpermitted modifications had been done over the years, an estimated three quarters of the market had to be redone in one form or another
Followers of their Facebook page can chart the initial optimism, then the growing frustrations of owner Ron Abbott, who first hoped “we can open in a couple of months.” One month after the fire, Abbott posted, “It’s a slow process, [but] we’re almost positive we’ll be back in business by the first of the year.” Not so, and patience wore thin. “Argggggg! This is worse than watching paint dry,” he wrote last September. By Christmas of last year, he requested of long-time patrons, “Don’t forget us,” quickly followed by the January 2014 news that, “We’re starting to plan the grand re-opening. Can’t wait to be the Sam Hughes community center again.”
With the completion of the $750,000 restoration, they could finally hope to turn on that “Open” sign. “This is a family business, mom, pop, brother, and sister,” says Amy Abbott. “This place is like home to us, and we love it. It’s been a blessing that so many people have cared and called us asking for the opening date. Statistics aren’t very good for a comeback from a fire like this, so we feel it’s a feat that we’ve been able to pull it off.”
Much of the floor plan remains as it did pre-fire, with some aesthetic updates. “We’re well known for our salad bar and our grill, and we’ve added a Class 7 liquor license for wine and beer, locally produced whenever possible. The major change to the physical layout is we moved our produce section into the grocery store and added a bar so you can now get a beer with your burger.”
And while there have been some changes in menu offerings, including half a dozen new sandwiches, many of the 60 employees who made the place hum a year ago are back at their stations, waiting for old friends to check out the newly revamped Rincon Market. ✜
Rincon Market. 2513 E. Sixth St. 520.327.6653. RinconMarket.com
Lee Allen likes to see what’s growing in other people’s gardens.