Staple Aurora Mexican restaurant on the move

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AURORA | For 16 years, Miguel Morales has been slinging crispy rellenos, breakfast burritos and more from Señor Miguel’s, at East Alameda Avenue and South Sable Boulevard.

But after a summer filled with traffic woes at Alameda and Sable because of construction on the new light rail line, the Aurora dining staple is packing up and moving a few blocks east.

Morales is set to move his restaurant to East Kentucky Avenue and South Buckley Road later this month. Morales said he hopes to be up and running in his new spot no later than Oct. 1, and possibly as soon as Sept. 17.

“I think this light rail killed my business,” he said.

Crews have been working throughout the summer on the line, which is set to open next year.

Earlier this summer the intersection was briefly shut down completely while crews laid train tracks across it, and Morales said the snarled traffic has made it tough for people to get to his restaurant at the northeast corner of the intersection.

RTD spokespersons did not respond to several requests for comment this week.

City officials have long hoped the R Line light rail project cutting through central Aurora would have the opposite effect and spur development near train stops. Several redevelopment projects near the line are already being discussed, including one to redevelop parts of the Fitzsimons Golf Course near the light rail line north of the Anschutz Medical Campus.

In a memo to council detailing that redevelopment plan, staff from the city’s planning department said the station north of the campus would be a centerpiece of the development.

Morales said he isn’t sure what the area will look like once the trains are up and running, but he doesn’t have high hopes for what it will mean for a business like his.

Already, the intersection of Alameda and Sable can be jammed at rush hour, he said.

That was especially true this summer when Morales said construction made it hard for him to even get to a nearby store if he ran out of something in his kitchen.

“There was just no way I could run and go get it,” he said.

Morales said he is excited about the new location, and isn’t worried that moving from the only home Señor Miguel’s has ever known will mean a loss of some customers. In fact, he said, the customers he has told so far have generally said the new spot is closer to them anyway.

At its current home the restaurant has 12 tables, but Morales said the new one will have a bit more seating than that. The kitchen is also bigger, he said, so he can have double the kitchen staff preparing food during the busy times.

Morales said he thinks traffic woes at the current spot will continue and he isn’t sure what impact the trains might have had on his business. Either way, he’s not interested in finding out.

“I don’t have time to wait,” he said.