East Main Street’s abloom with the opening of the new Flamboyan Restaurant. Named after the red-flowered Caribbean tree, El Flamboyan celebrated its grand opening on June 20, welcoming the community to experience fine Latino cuisine in a family-orientated environment. The owners had special cause to celebrate, considering their project’s turbulent history.
In 1999 mortgage broker Mayra Rosario presented the property, a once thriving motel built in 1888, to (developer) Edwin Soto.Soto, who has been a part of the East Side community since the 70s, saw the potential for community impact and decided to invest in the project. With the help of a CommCap loan, he set to work and completed the renovations in 2003. Only a year later, a fire ravaged the structure. Assessing the damage, Soto and Rosario, who had become partners, had their doubts about restoring the building to its former glory. “We were not sure what to do; do we just sell it as is?” said Soto.
Eventually, Soto and Rosario agreed that restoration could create a great neighborhood asset. Once again, Community Capital Fund was there to help. In April 2007, new renovations began, including flame-proof walls and insulation as well as a state of the art security system and high efficiency heating. Today, the once forsaken landmark is better than ever, and the Flamboyan Restaurant is in full bloom. In an area once plagued by blight, the transformation of 1001 East Main Street is another victory for the ever-improving East side.
“We’re proud to partner with owners who, considering everything that has happened, are as committed to Bridgeport and its progress as we are,” said Ann Robinson, executive director, Community Capital Fund.