Campus, News

Sunset Cantina reopens after months of closure caused by the pandemic

Sunset Cantina, a Mexican restaurant located at 916 Commonwealth Avenue, will be holding a grand reopening this Friday after closing for the summer in June.

Alycia O’Brien, the general manager of Sunset Cantina, said she is excited for the reopening of the restaurant.

Sunset Cantina
Sunset Cantina located on 916 Commonwealth Ave. The Mexican eatery on BU’s campus will return this coming Friday after being closed for six months due to staffing shortages. YITONG LI/DFP STAFF

“We are so excited,” O’Brien said. “The neighborhood has been super excited that we’re back in action (and) ready for our grand opening on Friday this week.”

O’Brien said Sunset was one of many restaurants in Boston that were forced to close because of financial struggles caused by the pandemic. The Mexican restaurant was recently acquired by East Coast Tavern Group, a Boston-based company that also owns restaurants like Emmet’s, Roxanne’s, Carrie Nation and Scholars.

“After COVID, a lot of restaurants in the Boston area took a hit,” she said. “(Sunset Cantina) closed down for a couple of years, and our company had bought it out and now we are getting everything back together.”

She said one of the challenges of reopening the restaurant is that it is difficult to carry on the restaurant’s reputation.

“Continuing the legacy, it’s big shoes to fill,” she said. “This restaurant is big and it’s widely known, it’s very popular in this area and we intend on keeping it as popular as we can.”

O’Brien spoke about changes within Sunset, highlighting new drink and menu items, including Birria tacos and quesadillas, all with a completely new staff.

“We definitely have a variety of changes, but everything is going to be more than enjoyable for everybody to enjoy,” she said. “It’s like the hot new thing, which I love. They’re amazing”

The restaurant hosted soft openings last Friday and Saturday, and restaurant-goers expressed excitement for the official opening. The restaurant also books events.

“It was a huge hit,” she said. “The last event that we had was about between 100 and 150 people, so we have a good space for a big party.”

She added BU events like hockey games are great for business at Sunset.

“We had a huge rush before the game so that definitely brought in a lot of business as well, which was awesome,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said they are hiring new employees and have already received many applications and attention.

“Applications are pouring in,” she said. “There’s tons of people, even people that are going to BU, that want a part time job.”

Ben Holahan, a junior in Questrom School of Business, said that he is excited that newer BU students get to experience Sunset again. His favorite menu item is the $5 margaritas.

“I’m excited for everybody else because I was able to go there freshman year and it’s nice because there’s a lot of BU students that go there,” he said.

Moriel Benabou, a freshman in College of Arts and Sciences, talked about some specific foods he’s excited for.

“I am very much looking forward to eating their fresh new fresh quesadillas with fresh salsa, cheese and sour cream,” he said. “(I will be there) Friday when they’re opening.”

O’Brien said she expects Friday’s grand reopening to be busy.

“Busy with great food, great drinks and the service will be awesome, it’s going to be a great time,” O’Brien said.

She added she and the other staff are looking forward to the new beginning.

“The food is amazing, the staff is incredible,” O’Brien said. “We’re really excited to get the show on the road.”

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