Amaro’s Table, a popular fine-dining restaurant in downtown Vancouver, is opening a second location Monday in Hazel Dell.
Co-owner Genaro Zurita Amaro said it had been his goal to open a second location since he started the original Amaro’s Table. And although it may seem like odd timing, as some restaurants in the city close because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amaro said he’s confident that the new location will make it through.
The new location, at 816 N.E. 98th Circle, formerly held an Applebee’s restaurant, but Amaro and his staff have redesigned the interior for a much more up-scale look that reflects the food and craft cocktails.
“It’s a really nice place where you can feel comfortable wearing jeans, and the prices are reasonable,” Amaro said.
Amaro said he and his brother-in-law and business partner, Jesus Amaro (who coincidentally has the same last name but is from a different lineage), signed the lease for the second location before the pandemic started. But Genaro Amaro said he would have entered into the lease even after the pandemic struck.
“Since we opened the first one, the plan was to grow and open a bigger restaurant,” he said.
Both locations serve Northwest-style cuisine, which is complemented by special cocktails featuring amaro, an Italian-made, bittersweet liquor.
Preston Groves, bar manager for both locations, said Amaro’s is bringing fine dining to a growing Hazel Dell, where fast food isn’t enough for people anymore.
“We have what it takes to make it through the pandemic,” Groves said.
The new location employs about 35 new hires, and once Clark County is able to move into later phases of Washington’s Safe Start plan, it will employ about 60. Amaro is currently hiring bartenders, servers and kitchen staff for both locations.
The original Amaro’s Table, at 1220 Main St., is generating about 25 percent of its orders from takeout, and Amaro said he expects the same from the second location.
Amaro was born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he remembers going to a farmers market with his father and seeing all of the different foods. They appealed to him so much that he got separated from his father for a short time while he sought the cuisine.
“I didn’t know why I did that until 10 years later when I was in the restaurant business,” he said.
He later moved to the United States, where for 25 years he worked in large, upscale restaurants in Arizona, California and Portland. He opened Amaro’s Table as his first business in 2018. He also opened a coffee shop, Geno’s Espresso at 1220 Main St., in 2018. The coffee shop is temporarily closed until Clark County enters later Safe Start phases, Amaro said.
Part of the reason Amaro picked Hazel Dell for the second restaurant was because he liked the area, and many of his customers at the downtown spot live north of Vancouver.
“They are really excited we’ll have another place, which is close and has more room,” Amaro said.
The new location holds 142 seats at full capacity, compared with the downtown location that holds 60. The Hazel Dell location also has a larger kitchen, which will allow chefs to experiment and try new recipes, Amaro said. But for the most part, the menus will be similar.
Amaro’s Table in Hazel Dell is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and happy hour is from 2 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close every day.