Los Gringos Locos

Manager Carlos Martinez has worked at Los Gringos Locos for 15 years in La Canada Flintridge on Thursday, June 30, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

One La Cañada mainstay will replace another in 2012 when Los Gringos Locos, a family-friendly Mexican food restaurant, moves to where Conrad’s Family Restaurant, a 43-year La Cañada eatery, held residence at 631 Foothill Blvd. until it closed on May 22.

Los Gringos Locos, a restaurant known for its fun atmosphere with weekly Margarita Monday and Taco Tuesday festivities, is making the move after spending the last 15 years at 464 Foothill Blvd.

Construction at the new location in the Vons shopping plaza begins Sept. 1 of this year and the official grand opening will take place at the start of 2012, said Bent Hansen, who co-owns the restaurant with his brother John.

Bent Hansen said he doesn’t plan on there being a down period during construction; he hopes to just close down one location and open at the other the next day.

Representatives with the Vons shopping plaza where the former home of Conrad’s stands, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hansen knows Conrad’s has left big shoes to fill at their old location, but he’s pleased to have about 55% more space, moving up from a site that’s 3,000 square feet to one that has 4500 square feet and includes a patio, private room with about a 50-person capacity and a full-size bar.

“We are aware that Conrad’s had been here for a long time and it’s an institution,” Hansen said. “We applaud all they have done. It was unfortunate they had to go.”

Pat Anderson, the president of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce, said the move can only mean good things for the already popular Los Gringos Locos, allowing them to do many things they previously didn’t have space for.

“Los Gringos Locos is one of the icon businesses in our community,” Anderson said. “It is very popular and although most of their client is based in La Cañada they do draw people from as far as Palm Springs.”

This is good news for the other neighboring businesses, Anderson said.

“Of course, there’s a trickle-down effect for all the other businesses in the Vons plaza with all the foot traffic that Los Gringos Locos will bring,” she said.

Hansen added that the extra space will allow him to set up a designated spot for takeout customers and to provide La Cañada with a casual bar scene it’s lacking, he said. The new bar will seat about 40 people a step up from his current bar that seats about four people.

Los Gringos Locos will now offer about 200 parking spots to customers, as opposed to the 40 spots at their current location.

“We will be one of the only restaurants in La Cañada to have [a patio],” said Hansen. “Mexican food, margaritas and a patio with Southern California weather just go together, like it was just meant to be.”

He the addition of more serving hours might go along with the move to the new location.

“Even though La Cañada pretty much shuts down at 9 p.m., we would like to do a late-night session where people could come and get some good street tacos, instead of having to drive out to Pasadena late at night,” Bent said.

“We know a lot of customers would just cross the street after church on Sunday and grab brunch at Conrad’s,” said Hansen, who’s looking into adding a breakfast portion to his restaurant’s menu. “We want to continue that.”