CAVE CREEK, Ariz. — A Valley restaurant is just a few weeks away from finally opening its doors after supply chain issues delayed hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment needed to open for months.
Owner Jason Clouse has been paying rent on space for his restaurant, Loco J's Tacos and Tequilas in Cave Creek, since December 2020.
12News first visited the restaurant last October when Clouse had spent $275,000 on kitchen equipment and was waiting for it to show up.
"I had to give a $150,000 deposit five months ago so that's sitting out somewhere," Clouse said in October 2021.
Now his vision of a Mexican food restaurant with more than 100 tequilas is nearly complete.
"When we saw you last this was what we were waiting for," Clouse says as he walks into a kitchen area now filled out with stainless steel appliances, tables and more.
Clouse says those items he had been waiting for last fall, arrived this past spring.
"You can't get a Blodgett oven right now they're 12 months - 18 months out. So I mean, it's crazy. The price has also doubled, I found out if I would order today, it would be double the price of what I paid," Clouse said.
Clouse had hoped last fall that the restaurant would be opened by December.
"It took a little longer, obviously, and a lot more money, but we're here," Clouse said.
Soon menu testing will begin as he already has unique touches in place, ready for visitors.
From tables custom lasered with the restaurant's logo and students' art hanging for sale. The restaurant will be matching the price of the art to donate back to schools, Clouse said.
Still, the road to opening came with other hurdles too, Clouse says a different chef, vendors and some different decor were all part of the process.
"It puts a financial strain as well because we seriously, were going to be open and I'm paying rent the whole time. And, you know, I've got employees, salary, chefs," Clouse said.
Clouse says it's employees, specifically more cooks and servers, that he still needs.
"It's going to be probably the biggest, hardest thing to overcome," Clouse said.
Clouse has been waiting to open his own concept for years and took a chance on the space a couple of years back.
"I'm blessed, I'm very thankful for it. My friends and family have rallied around us and they've been there," Clouse said.
Now getting ready for a soft opening soon, he's more than ready to serve his community.
"It's finally going to happen," Clouse said.
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