Rushville man renovating former IHOP building, plans to open Mexican restaurant by spring

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Roberto Leon of Rushville is renovating the former IHOP restaurant at 3311 Broadway and plans to have his Los Charros Mexican restaurant there by springtime. | David Adam

QUINCY — Roberto Leon said he has been looking for two years to find the right place for one of his Mexican restaurants.

He finally found it on one of Quincy’s busiest streets.

Leon, 40, took possession two weeks ago of the building at 3311 Broadway that most recently was the site of IHOP. He said he believes he will spend approximately $200,000 to renovate the building and open Los Charros, a Mexican bar and grill, by springtime.

Leon, who lives in Rushville, has two other restaurants with the same name in Rushville and Havana.

“I’ve been looking here but couldn’t find anything I liked,” he said. “But I like this location. I know a lot of customers from Quincy, and they know me pretty well. I know people from Rushville will come here, too. It’s in a pretty good location here, and it’s pretty good sized to me.”

Tables and chairs are stacked throughout the interior of the 5,000-square-foot building right now as people are scraping, sanding and painting. 

Leon was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and moved to the United States with his family when he was 11. His first job was a part-time position at El Rancherito in Macomb.

“I was a busboy, cook, dishwasher and a waiter,” Leon said with a smile. “Now I teach everybody else how to do those jobs.”

Los Charros joins a list of Mexican restaurants in Quincy that now is in double digits. Other Mexican restaurants are:

  • Taquerias Arandas, 1828 Broadway
  • Lonchero Arandas (taco truck), various locations
  • Gem City Pizzeria and Mexican, 1801 State
  • The Tower of Pizza, 2701 Broadway
  • El Rancherito, 307 N. 36th
  • Maya, 4420 Broadway
  • Mi Jalapeno, 3120 Broadway
  • El Patron, 340 S. 36th
  • Hooey’s Tavern, 633 N. 12th
  • Pancheros (scheduled to open in 2024), 3017 Broadway
  • Qdoba, 415 N. 32nd
  • Taco Bell, 826 Broadway and 3828 Broadway

“You know, there’s a lot of Mexican restaurants,” Leon said. “But my food (is made) fresh daily. I mean, that’s my difference. Fresh quality food.”

Leon said the ribeye is “pretty good” and the flaming fajitas are the most popular item on the menu.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time,” he said. “Come try our food.”

The property is owned by QRE LLC. Dr. Phu Van Troung, a hematologist from Wichita, Kan., is listed as the agent and manager of the property, according to records filed with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

QRE LLC bought the property for $2.17 million in November 2019 from WCT Properties, Inc., in East Peoria. William and Cheryle Torchia were the principal owners of WCT Properties, which brought TGI Friday’s to Quincy in November 2006.

Larry McDonald, opened the IHOP restaurant in the building in December 2017. He closed the restaurant in May 2023 because of difficulty in hiring employees and new paid leave laws.

Merriam-Webster defines “charro” as a Mexican horseman or cowboy typically dressed in an elaborately decorated outfit of close-fitting pants, jacket or serape, and sombrero.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The date of when TGI Friday’s came to Quincy was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.

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