A family-oriented Mexican restaurant will open at the former Celtic Taven on March 15.
Casa Vallarta will offer "good, quality Mexican food," and "the service style is to bring your food hot and quickly, and it's delicious," attorney Scott Nathan told selectmen Monday night.
After a public hearing, selectmen approved a request to transfer the all-alcoholic beverages restaurant license at 45 Belmont St. from Celtic Tavern owner CJ Restaurant Enterprises LLC to Los Cuates Inc., which will own Casa Vallarta. Los Cuates is "owned by a small group of people who have been in the restaurant business for quite some time," said Nathan, who represented the company during the hearing.
The Celtic Tavern has been closed since last June, when a fire that originated from a mulch bed caused extensive damage.
"I'm excited that there's something going in there," Selectman Bill Pantazis said.
"It's been vacant for a while. I think it'll be good."
Nathan said the name Casa Vallarta "comes from the area of Mexico where all of the owners grew up, between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta."
The restaurant will see "minor renovations" inside to create a Mexican atmosphere, Nathan said.
The seating capacity will remain about 207, he said, including about 30 on the patio.
Manager Yadira Gutierrez and her husband Jesus own a restaurant in Franklin, and "they have been a pillar in downtown Franklin for years," Nathan said.
"They've become part of the community to the point where Jesus, who has an affinity for riding horses, rides his horse in the July 4 parade," he said.
The anticipated hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Nathan said.