With a For Lease sign in the window, Tr3s Cocina/Cantina's brief run is over. The upscale Mexican restaurant opened late last fall but couldn't gain traction swiftly enough for viability, according to co-owner and chef Erwin Arceo.
"Tr3s seemed a bit too formal compared to a walk in restaurant/bar, more of a destination venue," Arceo reflected. "Definitely not our intent but I think the menu and design intrigued yet intimidated people." Arceo and business partners David Toland and Zack Nethercutt also run nearby Belltown Pub, a much more casual concept.
Arceo said the situation "totally sucks," admitting, "Personally, I completely misjudged the amount of time this concept would take to gain awareness. Historically it has always taken me about 90 days to start generating 'butts in seats,'" he said, but that was taking far longer at Tr3s.
If they had another year's worth of capital, Arceo guessed, they could've made the numbers work, but the group hit their financial limit and decided not to throw good money after bad. "Tough lesson for seasoned operators but just goes to show you that 'one can never have enough cash when opening a restaurant,'" he said.
Still, as may be expected from "seasoned operators," the trio might be down, but they're not out. Arceo said he and his partners "are focusing on enhancing Belltown Pub" as well as developing "a new quick serve sandwich concept" they hope to launch soon. Keep an eye out for more details on that.