After the fire: Abarrotes Carrillo rebuilds, reopens

The downtown Davenport business Abarrotes Carrillo appears to have a small army of fans. Some of their online comments directed at the business include:

  • “This restaurant rocks.”
  • “Best tacos in Iowa.”
  • “We love your food and friendliness.”

And in the past few days, many of the comments have been the same – “Welcome back.”

Abarrotes Carrillo
Abarrotes Carrillo at 903 W. Third St., Davenport, has reopened after being hit by a fire last December. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Abarrotes Carrillo – a family-owned grocery store, meat shop, convenience store and restaurant owned by Adrian Carrillo – was hit by a massive fire last December. After months of rebuilding, the Carrillo family has reopened the business located at 903 W. Third St. 

The grocery store side of Abarrotes Carrillo reopened Friday, July 1, and the restaurant reopens Friday, July 8.

“It’s been really great. We’re really excited about it. We’ve been getting a lot of support from the community (since reopening),” Miguel Carrillo, who is the manager and the son of the owner, told the QCBJ on Thursday, July 7, as he was busy getting big and small jobs done before the restaurant’s return today.

Mr. Carrillo added that the business has many loyal and regular customers who are glad to see Abarrotes Carrillo reopen. Those customers appreciate the selection of goods and customer service.

Some of the best-selling items include huaraches, tacos and burritos in the restaurant side; and hand-cut meat, fresh vegetables and spices on the grocery store side.

Another big reason many area residents are welcoming the return of Abarrotes Carrillo is because it is one of the few grocery stores serving that part of Davenport, he added. 

And that inventory of grocery stores in the area has been shrinking. He added that the Save-A-Lot grocery store that was located a few blocks away at 1309 W. Fourth St. – near the former Kraft Heinz plant – closed a few years ago.

There were some fears in the community that Abarrotes Carrillo would not reopen after a fire heavily damaged the building a few months ago. That blaze started at about 9:20 p.m., Dec. 4, 2021, and caused “severe fire, smoke and water damage” to the building, according to Davenport Fire Department officials. Mr. Carrillo said the fire destroyed the building from top to bottom. A complete rebuild was needed.

“There was a time when we just didn’t know what we were going to do. … It was a very nerve-racking time,” he added.

But the Carrillo family decided to rebuild. And with a lot of help from the community (including a GoFundMe campaign) and the family (including a brother in the construction industry), the business was rebuilt.

Supporters of the downtown Davenport business community said they were also happy to see the business make a comeback.

“It’s been wonderful to see the story of Abarrotes Carrillo turn from tragedy to triumph with its recent re-opening. The brand-new building is a great asset to downtown’s western-gateway, and we wish them many years of success ahead,” said Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an affiliate of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Carrillo said the rebuilding process had its challenges with supply chain issues. For instance, he had to visit seven different stores to find eight-inch screws to help with the rebuild, and family members had to travel to Chicago to find other needed supplies.

But, in time, all the supplies were found and the store rebuild project was complete.

Today, Abarrotes Carrillo has about 4,500 square feet of space and currently has about 15 employees. Mr. Carrillo said that when fully staffed, the business will have some 20 employees. Its hours are: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The phone number is (563) 323-0195.

Mr. Carrillo added that he might be open to making changes and additions to the business in the future. 

“Right now, we’re 100% focused on this project. We just want to meet the needs of the customers,” he added.

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