In July, frequent Food & Dining Magazine contributor Michael L. Jones updated the rehabilitation effort at Colonial Gardens, the South End landmark structure vacant for almost two decades. Now the work is concluding and first tenant is open for business: El Taco Luchador Colonial Gardens, the taqueria’s fifth and largest shop, the fourth having just gotten started in Jeffersontown.
WDRB’s Jessica Bard picks up the story.
Colonial Gardens was called Sennings Park when it opened on New Cut Road back in 1902. It became Louisville’s first zoo, then Colonial Gardens Restaurant and Grill and even a nightclub which hosted the likes of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, according to local legend.
“Colonial Gardens was a great social gathering area for the south end,” said Rick Moir, director of operations for El Taco Luchador Director of Operations. But this piece of Louisville history ended up empty and boarded up, vacant since 2003. A plan to revitalize Colonial Gardens has been underway for years, and the first business is ready to open.
“I think people here want something local, something fresh, something good in their neighborhood,” said Yaniel Martinez with El Taco Luchador.
“We have big dreams for our company,” Olé Restaurant Group founder Fernando Martinez told Jones in his Summer 2019 F&D profile. “We want to be a big player in Louisville. One day we’d like to venture outside Louisville, especially with El Taco Luchador. That would be a big way to grow for our company.”