Editor's note: Answers from AJ is semi-regular column written to answer questions posed by readers. Readers can ask questions about what's happening in the community, whether it be a local construction project or what insects are being monitored by the state in area parks. Please submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Question: What happened to La Casona?
Answer: La Casona, a Mexican restaurant that was a fixture in South Jeffco for nearly 20 years, has closed.
The owner of the property on West Coal Mine Avenue where the restaurant was located is suing the owners of La Casona, alleging they've failed to pay rent and might have taken items that didn't belong to them.
"To the best of our knowledge, they have closed," said Theo Brin, one of the attorneys representing Meadows Shopping Center LLC, which owns the space where La Casona had operated since the early 1990s. "We've tried to communicate with them to find out what their intentions are, and have not heard anything back."
Lillie Hernandez is listed as the owner of La Casona Inc., according to state business records dating to January 1991. She's also listed as the defendant in the eviction lawsuit notice taped to the inside of La Casona's locked doors. A contact phone number for Hernandez could not be found, and she could not be reached for comment.
"We've been unable to serve paperwork on them," Brin said. "They took everything out of the restaurant space, including property we're not sure they should have. We don't know where they are, but they're definitely closed and gone from this location."
A peek in the window of La Casona on July 3 showed the space empty of all its tables, chairs, pool tables and the large television that sat in the corner. A couple of boxes sat on the bar, along with several bottles of liquor.
Brin said he served the eviction notice on Hernandez and La Casona Inc. for unpaid rent.
"They're behind in the rent pretty significantly," Brin said. The rent for the space was approximately $3,466 per month, and Brin said La Casona was at least three months behind. The lawsuit demands legal possession of the restaurant space and the money owed for rent.
Brin said he couldn't speak for Hernandez or La Casona, but thought he knew why the long-tenured restaurant met its end.
"The economy is horrible," Brin said. "Restaurants appear to be getting really hammered. I represent a lot of landlords with shopping centers like this, and restaurants are suffering the most."
E-mail your questions about South Jeffco to AJ Vicens at firstname.lastname@example.org.