Spanish River Grille, the once-popular New Smyrna Beach restaurant that closed in 2017, is set to return, with a projected opening day of Dec. 19.
That date is significant because it was Dec. 19, 1999, that Michele and Henry Salgado opened the original iteration. The restaurant was a critical hit and Henry Salgado, as its executive chef, became a James Beard Award nominee in the Best Chef South region for his cuisine.
In 2014, the Salgados also opened Txokos Basque Kitchen at the then-new East End Market but sold it a year and a half later, in September of 2015, partly due to the logistics of operating two restaurants so far apart. (That space is now occupied by Domu.) They continued to focus on the New Smyrna Beach restaurant but sold it in early 2017. The buyer, Henry Rodriguez, found that without the Salgados the restaurant’s regular customers stopped coming, and a few months later, he closed the business.
The new Spanish River Grille will once again be owned and operated by the Salgados.
Its new address is 1518 S. Dixie Freeway, a freestanding building that has been home to various restaurants, including Franco’s, Dolce Vita and Paradise Pizza. The original Spanish River was in a strip mall.
Reached by phone Tuesday, the Salgados said the new menu will feature some of the original SRG favorites, including whole fried snapper, yuca-crusted fish and fish tacos. But much of the menu will focus on tapas. “We’ll have much more small plates,” said Henry. “I can make the menu bigger with the tapas and I can keep our prices reasonable with the tapas.”
Michele said she thinks the Dec. 19 target is reasonable but staffing so close to the holidays might be an issue. But “the restaurant will be ready.”