Las Palmas Café opened last fall in downtown Fredericksburg.
Their clientele has grown steadily and recently, they moved their location to inhabit the building of the former University Café.
Jeanette Reyes-Soto, co-owner of Las Palmas, came to Fredericksburg to be closer to her family. Las Palmas is a family-run business and her husband Willie Soto co-owns the restaurant.
Because of Las Palmas’ overwhelming popularity and success in Fredericksburg at their Caroline Streer location, they overgrew their small restaurant, that was only blocks away fromtheir current William St. site.
According to Reyes-Soto Las Palmas is the only Puerto Rican restaurant in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region.
“We want to bring culture to Fredericksburg,” she said.
University Café was known for their promotion of local artists by having their artwork on display in the café, and Las Palmas is following suit.
One can find bright and beautiful pieces of artwork on display throughout the restaurant from Puerto Rican artists and local artists that put together artwork with a specific Caribbean feel that matches the island theme that Las Palmas portrays.
“[The new artwork]brings a little bit of Puerto Rico to Fredericksburg,” Reyes-Soto said. “All that’s needed is a hammock and sand.”
The well-known University Café couches are gone, and the new owners have many tables set up around the restaurant, and a small stage to hold a band in the far corner.
The bar is set up in the same format as before, but it sparkles with a new coat of electric blue paint.
The owners of Las Palmas want to cater to the students of UMW by hosting a college night ever Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
There will be a small cover, specials on food, including wings, appetizers, and drinks, and fun music. Happy Hour (for those who are 21+) is also Wednesday but extends through Sunday from 3p.m. to 7p.m.
Las Palmas will have a dress code on these nights.
“We want to promote a classier college night,” Reyes-Soto said.
Las Palmas will also host “Salsa Sabroso Fridays.” Salsa lessons will be provided for just $5.
“I want people to enjoy themselves and learn about Puerto Rican culture,” Reyes-Soto said.
University Café, although popular with students, went out of business in only a few months. Reyes-Soto is confident that with “strong customer service and food,” Las Palmas will not face the same fate.
“So far business is doing really well. We are very blessed,” she said. “We are the only one of our kind which helps.”