Don Pablo’s in general, and this one in particular, have been a staple of the family’s restaurant eating for as long as they’ve been in Orlando. I’ve literally watched them come into Orlando, and over the past ten years, since the start of the Great Recession, I’ve watched them leave one-by-one. This particular Don Pablo’s was on International Drive, and is the second to last to leave. The only other DP I know of is the one still open up in Sanford. Here’s the interesting sign taped to the front door.
Which begs the question of how this all went down. The last sentence is quite telling, as this indicates that not everybody knew this was coming.
Ever since the Great Recession started in 2006, the Orlando economy has been fragile, with “first mover” companies such as Don Pablo’s leaving behind behemoth buildings such as this one to be occupied multiple times by different businesses. The Don Pablo’s built over on University near UCF went through three different local bars (with the word Knight or Knights in the name) until it was finally bought and converted into a Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar. The Don Pablo’s next to West Oaks Mall had its interior built out into three long stores, one of which is out of business again. The architecture is distinctive enough that you can still recognize them dotting the landscape, just like the old Circuit City stores.
I used to write about this on my old blog. It would appear I may start writing about failing businesses again, especially with the election of Donald Trump.