Picture this: a sip of a cold beer from a tap, a fire pit on which to prop your feet and a view of the mission grounds.
If a winter storm brings rain, duck for cover under an enclosed patio where you can people-watch from a counter set against large windows that offer views of downtown.
An overhaul of will begin early next year to transform the small Mexican eatery into the Mission Grill, a fast-casual restaurant owned and operated by Cypress resident John Gillotti.
"I really fell in love with it," Gillotti said of the plot next door to the and directly across from . He purchased it in December, the first step in fulfilling a dream to own his own land and restaurant he could one day pass down to his children.
Gillotti said his Italian great grandfather opened Des Moines, Iowa's first tavern. He recalls washing glasses at an early age and flipping pizzas as a teenager. As an adult he's ran bars and worked for companies whose headquarters were constructed with LEED certifications.
His plans call for incorporating green building designs as he doubles the size of Pedro's. The addition includes a second floor on the west side of the building for an office and balcony, as well as a new enclosed dining area where the current patio stands. The existing outdoor dining and parking spaces will be covered with a trelis where there will be seating for more than 50 diners.
Plaster and faux brick will adorn the exterior and arched windows will be trimmed with wood.
An independently owned Mexican restaurant, Pedro's Tacos is not affiliated with the fast-food chain of the same name. The Riverside-based owners will either shut down their business or find a new home, so the remodel will mean a brief interruption in taco eating.
But when the Mission Grill opens, traditional Mexican fare will be on the menu, as will sandwiches, salads and hamburgers. Specialty sodas, beer and wine will comprise the drink menu.
"The opportunity came up to actually own the land and apply all of the things we've learned over the years," Gillotti said of not being able to turn down the purchase.
His plans will be reviewed Tuesday by the city's planning commission.