A new business is scheduled to assume the location of an old Waynedale favorite.
The Bandidos location on Winchester Road – the chain’s original and first restaurant – has closed for business and its building is waiting to host its next owner.
Arcos Restaurant, currently located at 2868 Dupont Road, has announced that they have acquired the building, and will be taking it over and transforming it into their new location.
That’s according to Arcos CEO and General Manager Eduardo Gonzalez, who said the deal first materialized because he knew the previous owner.
“I knew the old owner of Bandidos,” Gonzalez said. “And we started talking about a month and a half ago.”
Gonzalez said his aim is to revamp the 40-year-old building in his image, repainting and redecorating the interior, and bringing in its own menu.
“We’re upgrading everything. And we’re bringing in our own system,” he said. “We’ll give it our own spin. This whole place is going to be rebranded as Arcos 2.0.”
Gonzalez said he will bring about 10 to 15 staff members from his old restaurant with him to the new spot. As for the current Bandidos staff members, he said “they are more than welcome to apply for jobs at our new place.”
He expects to maintain a staff of about 20 people, including kitchen and wait staff.
Gonzalez said his old spot-on Dupont Road will close. That location had been open about five years, he said.
Bandidos had announced a couple of months ago that they were looking to lease the location, rather than owning it outright, and saying that they planned to stay in Waynedale for the “foreseeable future,” according to owner Jimmie Schindler at the time.
Obviously, those plans changed.
With the restaurant industry being on the downswing in recent months due to the slowing economy and the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, many local eateries have either had to scale back their business significantly or shut their doors entirely.
The Waynedale Bandidos location was the first in the chain to open in 1980 at 7510 Winchester Road, spawning a restaurant business that had grown by leaps and bounds over the years, becoming one of Fort Wayne’s favorite Mexican-food dining spots, and comprising four locations – three in Indiana and one in Ohio.
At its height, Bandidos had four locations in Fort Wayne: The one in Waynedale, a location off of Illinois Road in Aboite at 8230 Glencarin Blvd., another in Glenbrook Commons at 4122 Lima Road; and the fourth at 6536 E. State Blvd. A fifth restaurant operated in Lima, Ohio, at 2613 Elisa Road. The company’s corporate offices are located at 6060 E. State Blvd. in Fort Wayne.
The restaurant firm was first founded in 1980 by Jimmie Schindler’s father, Jimmie Senior. The older Schindler, who was born in Geneva, Indiana, graduated from John Carroll University in 1956, and served as a tank commander in World War II. He passed away in early 2020 at age 86. He also owned a group of restaurants called Jimmie’s Pizza Inns.
News of the Waynedale Bandidos closing spread quickly, and attracted hundreds of patrons looking to get one last taste of the spot’s well-known Mexican fare. So many people came to the Winchester Road location, in fact, that customers were waiting one to two hours to secure a table.
As for the new proprietors, Gonzalez said he is just hoping his new location will be a welcoming spot for local diners, and a good fit for Waynedale.
“We’re excited to come to Waynedale,” Gonzalez said. “We’re growing, and we’ll be great for families and friends. And we’re grateful and excited for this opportunity.”
There has not been a date set for the opening, but has been indicated that it will be in the next couple months.