Sad news. Mariscos Puerta Esperanza, the Mexican seafood restaurant in Orange beloved by a Internet cult following, closed last week. Known by the initials MPE to the Chowhounds who were its greatest advocates (only the most respected place gets the shorthand designation on the food bulletin board) the news of the restaurant's shutter spread fast.
A Chowhound by the handle of HB_Jeff reported “Went to MPE with my Dad last night and they were closed. I looked in the windows and all the tables and booths were gone. No signs or announcements of any kind on the windows. Lots of accumulated mail on the floor.”
Us Stick-A-Forkers got the news here from a commenter named Honeyman.
But since the restaurant was perennially deserted, like the loss of a terminally ill friend, even those who were saddened by the news were agreed that it was not unexpected.
Even during the height of the Chowhound frenzy over the place, the most consistent comments (other than that the food was stunning) was that it was in a bad location and was in dire need of business.
Our own Dave Lieberman (who is better known as Das Ubergeek on the Chowhound boards and who interviewed owner and chef Santiago Vallejo for an On The Line post) said it best in one of his earlier reviews on the place. He said, “This place should have lines out the door and chest-butting matches for parking spots.”
Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way.