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Photo by Jessa Pease.
Owner Jack Lin, left, said eight out of ten people who come in to the Colonnade location ask for long time employee Putu.
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Photo by Jessa Pease.
Pablo's Chicken Con Queso featuring two chicken breasts topped with queso and served with a bed of rice, vegetables and beans.
It was everything they thought they didn’t want to do.
Jack, Sue and Susan Lin’s father owned a Chinese restaurant in Georgia while they were growing up, and they never wanted to follow the family tradition.
But for the past 15 years, the siblings have owned Pablo’s Restaurante & Cantina in the Colonnade. Three years later, they opened the Hoover location off John Hawkins Parkway, and finally they opened the location in The Village at Lee Branch seven years ago.
“It’s like a neighborhood place,” Lin said. “You walk in and you know everyone.”
At the Hoover Pablo’s, Lin said families and large groups of people such as Baptist church groups and workers from Toyota often frequent Pablo’s. Mostly though, Pablo’s is a family place.
In fact, Lin said most of the staff members are family or have been working there for such a long time that they have become family. With family being so important at Pablo’s, it is easy to see why a family member manages each location.
Lin said it makes it easier to maintain the sense of community and friendship when one person can focus on each location. He manages the Colonnade location, his sister Susan manages the Hoover location and Susan’s husband manages the Pablo’s in The Village at Lee Branch.
“You can’t jump from restaurant to restaurant,” Lin said. “You have to stay stationary to make it profitable because it is just a building. It’s [the] people you have that bring people here, because everybody sells tacos and margaritas.”
Lin does admit that the tacos and margaritas are a big draw for people though; along with Pablo’s signature dishes —the fajita nachos and the fajita quesadillas. The fajita dishes, Lin said, are a product of 15 years of ingredients and recipes proven to work.
“You’ve got to have your margarita, good salsa and good service,” Lin said. “I think that is what keeps it consistent.”
Pablo’s also sells a signature drink called the Texas Margarita, and also features a house margarita for happy hour from 4-6 p.m. and Mexican beer specials all week.
“Being of Asian decent, everybody asks us ‘Why do you have Mexican restaurants instead of Chinese restaurants,’” Lin said. “Duh, you sell more alcohol. That’s my motto.”
On occasions, you might catch a Friday night where Pablo’s becomes Club Pablo’s, a salsa nightclub staying open until 2 a.m. The location at the Colonnade does it almost every weekend because they are able to stay open until 5 a.m. instead of 2 a.m.
Lin said some dancers really know what they are doing, but many people from the surrounding businesses just come to have some fun once they are off the clock.
“It took about a year or two, but it has really become an attraction here on U.S. 280,” Lin said. “It’s really cool. We have the lights, the smoke and the whole nine yards.”