Plaza Azteca to change name, Manchester location

Zachary F. Vasile, Journal Inquirer


The Plaza Azteca Mexican restaurant chain is moving its Manchester location from a standalone building on Slater Street to former Bertucci’s spot on the north side of the Buckland Hills mall.

The Virginia-based restaurant group announced Wednesday that, due to the high cost of lease renewal and the need for renovations at the Slater Road address, management had no choice but to look for other options and found a willing partner in the Shoppes at Buckland Hills, about a half-mile down the Buckland Hills Drive commercial corridor.

Company officials said they’ve agreed to lease a space at 194 Buckland Hills Drive, Suite 1052, the former Bertucci’s location.

Plaza Azteca, which has occupied a corner lot opposite the Manchester Best Buy since 2009, thanked the town for its support over the last 10 years and said it remains committed to serving its “family” of customers at its newly renovated locale.

“We love our Manchester community, and we wanted to keep being part of it,” the chain’s owners said in a statement.

As part of the move, Plaza Azteca will close its current location on Monday, rebrand as “Toro Azteca Mexican Cantina,” and overhaul its menu to include more authentic Mexican dishes and fresh margaritas. The restaurant plans to retain its staff, company officials said, and will hold a job fair on Wednesday for prospective new hires.

Toro Azteca will be situated along a north-facing strip of stores between Sears and J.C. Penney. Its neighbors will include Barnes & Noble, Forever 21, and Maggie McFly’s.

The restaurant group did not say when the Buckland Hills location will open for business.

Two partners from the Mexican state of Jalisco opened the first Plaza Azteca in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1994. The restaurant’s blend of traditional Mexican recipes with popular Tex-Mex staples such as nachos and fajitas quickly caught on, and within a few years, the owners expanded operations to Pennsylvania, southern New England, and North Carolina.

Plaza Azteca currently has 40 locations in seven states. The chain operates two restaurants in Connecticut — one in Manchester, the other on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington.

A location on Route 190 in Enfield closed abruptly in May 2018 after four years in business.

According to town property records, the 7,600-square-foot building at 170 Slater St. being vacated by Plaza Azteca is owned by Brixmor Slater Street LLC, which lists a mailing address in Scottsdale, Arizona. There is no word yet on a replacement for the current tenant.

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