SEELEY – The Seeley Market opened its new restaurant Friday and Saturday and enticed customers to attend the grand opening by offering free tacos. It was mainly a convenient store and gas station until October 6 when the restaurant side of the market was officially opened.
Owners, Bob Ballo, John Odisho, and Sami Soro, have worked to open the restaurant for over a year. After agreeing the small store was due for an upgrade, they decided to reach out to the bank for a loan. They were offered $1 million to upgrade the store, decided the market would include a restaurant.
The restaurant sells tacos, burritos, pozole and menudo on weekends, as well as several other items. Ballo explained the town’s lack of stores and restaurants meant Seeley residents had to travel seven miles into El Centro if they wanted variety.
“We’re the only neighborhood store,” said Ballo. “People always come in here hungry. They grab chips and our cold sandwiches, but their choices for real food were limited. So we decided to open the restaurant.”
The project took more than a year to complete and included upgrades to the parking lot, gas pumps, and interior. Ballo said he was grateful for the hard work put into getting the upgrade completed. Aros Construction, Drafting Studio Designers, and Jabro Construction all worked five days a week and often worked on weekends to get the job done, he said.
About 3,000 free tacos were served during the grand opening of the restaurant, and many people seemed drawn to the smell of the food and the music, according to some of the customers.
Inspired by the Navy’s Blue Angels, the market’s new logo includes two Blue Angels jets flying towards each other to make the letter “S.” Ballo explained that it was important to make sure the new restaurant and logo was relatable to Seeley residents.
“The Blue Angels are the only thing we can see and hear around here in Seeley. I didn’t know how else to represent Seeley. We didn’t want to have a logo of the desert or the dirt,” Ballo said. “Then I saw the picture of the Blue Angels and that’s what we decided would be best.”
Nena Perez, a Seeley resident, said she was excited for the grand opening of the restaurant. She told all of her friends and family about the free tacos and music.
“We need another restaurant here in Seeley. For us Seeley residents, it’s nice just to go to the Seeley Market and be able to order food and do a little shopping while we wait for our food,” said Perez.