APOPKA, Fla. -- Cinco de Mayo is traditionally one of the busiest days for Mexican restaurants, but one restaurant owner who is trying to make it through the coronavirus pandemic is trying to remain optimistic for the future.

At the start of the year, the Honorato family said they expanded their Apopka Mexican restaurant to seat 150 people and added new drinks to their menu in anticipation for Cinco de Mayo.

“The investment was like ‘Oh my God, we invested with all that’s going on,’ so it was really tough,” said Alejandro Honorato Jr., the manager of San Miguel Mexican Grill.

Honorato said the coronavirus pandemic also led to a more than 70% drop in business for all six of their family-owned Mexican restaurants. They also had to lay off a third of their staff, going from 30 to 10 employees. 

Honorato said he's hopeful that business improves as the state reopens but is aware the process will be slow.

He said so far, they can seat 30 inside the restaurant and an additional 14 for outside dining. Outside seating was added for the first time during Cinco de Mayo. The plan was to build a patio for outside, but it was scratched due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“There’s not a lot people available to come, unfortunately, but we’re doing this for the people who can come and enjoy the food inside the restaurant,” he said.

Honorato said once they can reopen at full capacity, he plans on hiring more employees.

Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.

Spectrum News 13 newsletter

Spectrum Bay News 9 newsletter