Vacant Los Hermanos Restaurant in Polock Pines Burns Down.
Los Hermanos, located at 6524 Pony Express Trail. Once a top-rated restaurant that began having trouble in 2010, and closed in July this year has burned to the ground. As is common, speculation is rampant about insurance fraud but the fire investigators have only just begun to search for the cause of the fire. Larry Arens said the electricity and propane had been turned off since July and he didn’t think that either could have started the fire.
“I would say vandals at his point. There is no other reason (for the fire),” he said. “Everything was turned off.”
Owner Larry Arens, a resident of Pollock Pines and an avid diver, in an interview years ago said, “I checked out what was offered in the towns in Mexico, and it really helps us in offering a diverse menu with authentic, fresh food.”
The 9,000-square-foot restaurant seated 210 people, and the arrangements are ultra-comfortable, with large tables and booths, plenty of legroom and outside seating for any season but winter. A full bar was stocked with premium labels including specialty tequilas. A Los Hermanos margarita was not soon forgotten.
The 600-gallon saltwater fish tank that greeted customers that walked through the front door, the footprints in the “sand” of the concrete floor, the thatch hanging from roofs over palm trees inside the softly lit interior made customers feel they were on a Mexican vacation.
Arens and his brother Dan started the restaurant after they sat together at a Chevy’s restaurant in Sacramento in 1988. Larry bought out his brother’s interest a few years ago. The Arens family knew how tough economic times were recently and the restaurant offers some “recession busters.”
“I’m determined, stubborn and not willing to give up,” Larry Arens said, reflecting on the years he spent in a declining Logging industry.
But by the Summer of 2011 things began to change at the restaurant and good reviews turned sour. Customers that had been going to the restaurant for years began to talk about the poor service, the rising cost of the meals, and the mediocre food coming from the kitchen.
In the summer of 2011 one loyal customer wrote, "We have been coming to this restaurant for many years. It has always been out fave!
Today however, was the WORST service we have ever seen at any restaurant. The food was marginal at best as well......the Guac was like green wall paper paste! When I mentioned these concerns to the server, he could have cared less and walked away with just a weak sorry and a sneer."
By June 2012 another regular wrote, "We loved it here now we like it. Something has substantially changed. The service used to be fantastic and friendly now is mediocre and forced. Food is still good but prices are up. Maybe they are struggling in the economy? In any case it isn't what it was even a couple years ago. It is too bad because the drive is long from Sac and used to be completely worth it. Servers seem indifferent. They talk to each other instead of refilling drinks or checking on you. No fish in the tank when you come in either."
The restaurant closed on July 28 this year without notice or explanation and just one week earlier one customer wrote a review that was prophetic.
Wow. Where to start?? I have been coming here for years and years. As a local this has always been a good go to spot. Tonight was my last night ever coming here. I have never came to a restaurant asked at the host stand what I wanted when I walked in, told I would have to wait for a table and then was seated right away. Ummm okay not what I'm used too, but fine. Then waited for my waiter. And waited. I've been a waitress before and would be mortified if anything took me this long. We were 1 of 5 tables in the whole place! Service was just very very slow and no one seemed to care at all. I will never ever go back. Which is sad because up in the hills you have few options.