The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 13, 2013

Second Casa Blanca restaurant preparing to open downtown

By Jean Cole

— In about two weeks, a Mexican restaurant will open on the downtown Square in Athens.

If all goes as planned, Martinez Enterprises will open a second location for its Casa Blanca Mexican Restaurant & Cantina at 208 W. Market St., next to Pimentos.

“We wanted to have another location downtown so we can get closer to people for lunch; people from the hospital and downtown,” said Gabriel Martinez, co-owner. “We will serve Mexican food and wine, beer and margaritas.”

The Martinezes — brothers Gabriel, Hector Elias — are the owners of six such Casa Blanca restaurants in North Alabama, including two in Madison, three in Huntsville and one in Lindsay Lane Shopping Center in Athens. The brothers have worked in every conceivable restaurant capacity, including as bus boys, dishwashers, servers and owners.

Athens City Council members approved the sale of alcohol for the new restaurant on the Square during their regular meeting Monday. Gabriel still has to obtain an alcohol license from the state, which he planned to pursue Tuesday. That could take about two weeks, he said. He hopes to begin hiring next week if the state agrees to process the beverage permit.