December 11. 2017 9:01PM

Mexican restaurant expected to open soon in Merrimack

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent


MERRIMACK — Renovations are nearly complete at the former Wendy’s on Whitney Street, which is in the process of being converted into a new Mexican restaurant.

“We were hoping to open by Christmas, but now we are thinking the first of January,” said Francisco Jalme of Don Ramon, LLC.

The new Don Ramon Mexican restaurant will occupy the former Wendy’s site at 6 Whitney St. near the Common Man restaurant and Exit 11 Car Wash.

Work has been underway inside of the 3,090 square feet restaurant for several weeks.

Last week, Jalme approached the Merrimack Planning Board seeking a waiver of the full site plan review.

“Basically everything is staying in the same spot,” he told planning officials.

Although the building has two existing drive-thru windows, Jalme said one of the windows will not be used.

The second window, however, will remain open for meal pickups, he explained.

“One of them will be used for take-out orders,” he said of the drive-thru, explaining patrons must order their meals in advance before picking them up at the drive-thru. There will not be a menu board for customers to order food directly at the drive-thru, added Jalme.

Don Ramon LLC is leasing the space from Twin Coast Properties, the owner of the 1.1 acre parcel.

As part of the redevelopment process, some landscaping work was removed from the front exterior of the restaurant and the newly empty space was used to build an outdoor patio.

The new leasee told the planning board that the patio could accommodate up to 32 seats, or likely eight dining tables.

“Given the nature of the development, there is no need for a full site plan (review),” said Alastair Millns, planning board member. He suggested that the board grant a waiver of full site plan review and grant conditional final approval.

The board agreed, allowing Don Ramon to move forward with its business plan.

According to Jalme, alcohol will be served at the restaurant. Aside from the restaurant, plans also include 49 parking spaces at the site.

“There is adequate parking” Kellie Shamel, assistant planner, told the board members.

The former Wendy’s restaurant closed in 2016, and the building has remained vacant ever since.

Don Ramon will be the third Mexican restaurant operating in Merrimack. Tortilla Flat on the Daniel Webster Highway and El Tapatio on Milford Road also have local businesses.

khoughton@newstote.com