El Pollo Loco opens in renovated Cottonwood Grove in Bishop
The ceremonial ribbon was cut on Wednesday officially opening Bishop’s El Pollo Loco. Dozens of citizens from elected officials to business owners showed up for the opening and to get a taste of the restaurant’s claim to fame—it’s flame-grilled citrus marinated chicken.
The restaurant occupies the former Burger King location in the Cottonwood Plaza, now Cottonwood Grove. El Pollo Loco joins fellow tenants Perry’s Pizza, which relocated from Mammoth, Verizon Wireless and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Value Sports was a tenant for a very short time and the 11,000 square foot space it once occupied is now available.
Al Amiri, co-owner of the Grove told The Sheet at the ribbon cutting that he expects El Pollo Loco to be successful and an asset to the community. It is creating jobs for locals, some of whom will be standing in front of the hot grill, known as the “grill masters.” Local grill masters will have the opportunity to compete against other grillers in the state at the Annual Grill Master Challenge.
Amiri said he expects the Bishop restaurant to be one of the best in California. Amiri and his wife Liz own two El Pollo Locos themselves. The Bishop restaurant will be the seventh El Pollo Loco owned by Shawn Razipour and Mani Behboudi. Behboudi is the sister of Ray Eslamiye.
Eslamiye and wife Liz, now Liz Amiri, had bought Cottonwood Plaza in 2010, but Eslamiye died suddenly of cancer just six months after the purchase. At the ribbon cutting, Liz told The Sheet it has taken some time to get the property where they want it, but thanks to Al Amiri, the dream of a beautified and inviting Cottonwood Grove has become a reality.
Like many chain stores and franchises, there are certain criteria that must be met to justify a new establishment. Liz said Bishop has a unique demographic being a small town in a sparsely populated county, but also having nearly 30,000 visitors passing through on the weekends with folks headed to higher ground to cool off in the summer or ski in the winter.
Bishop Mayor Laura Smith said she was impressed by what it has taken to get the Cottonwood Plaza from the fenced-in blight of 2008 to the clean, fresh and new Grove it is today.