RICHMOND -- The loss of one of downtown's longest-standing businesses apparently will be short-lived.
La Perla Mexican Delicatessen, a family business at Fourth Street and Nevin Avenue that closed early in May after 64 years, will reopen in the same location on June 16, said new owner Susan Weinberg-Matteson.
"The La Perla name and business will continue to be exactly the same," she said. "It will be the same menu, the same prices and the same friendly customer service people have come to expect."
The business had been operated since 1948 by three generations of the Ponce family, who had been looking for more than a year for a buyer for the business, known for its hearty portions and loyal clientele.
"I want to honor the family that had the name for so long," Weinberg-Matteson said. "I'm hoping to put memorabilia up on the walls. Not many families have had a restaurant stay in the family that many years."
Weinberg-Matteson, who recently got the keys to the building and is now interviewing people to staff the eatery, said negotiations to buy the business took the better part of a year "for all the things involved with a commercial property sale to be resolved."
In addition, some time will needed to "spruce up the place" before reopening, she said, adding, "I'm excited about giving people in the neighborhood a job."
The rebirth of La Perla was welcomed by its neighbors at the Richmond Museum of History.
"The Richmond Museum Association is delighted that our neighbor La Perla will reopen, as it is a long-standing tradition in the Iron Triangle neighborhood," said museum director Melinda McCrary. "While we value and will miss the personal relationships we made with the former owners, we are excited to see what the future holds for the business under new ownership."
Weinberg-Matteson said that along with continuing the traditional fare of burritos and tacos at lunch, she hopes to expand operating hours, possibly as soon as this summer, and offer a different type of cuisine during the evening.
"She's got a lot of drive," said Dolores Ponce Bonds, one of the siblings who grew up at and went on to run La Perla for so many years. "I tell people give her a chance. She's got a lot of good ideas."