If everything goes well there will be a new — and old Main Street hangout — to watch Thursday night's NFL opener between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys.
“Perfect scenario, Thursday night football,” said Cristian Diaz, one of the new owners of Poor Richard's at 205 N. Main Street. “We'll get it going by Saturday.”
Diaz said it would be nice to be open in time for Thursday night's game, but added he and the new owners won't rush the opening, but they'll be ready to open by this weekend.
Diaz, along with his wife Victoria and business partner Rasheem Rayani, bought Poor Richard's from Mike Freeman, the previous owner. Freeman's family had owned the Porterville institution since 1970 when they opened the establishment.
Rayani's father, Hussain, is also helping to manage the business. “We want people to know we're going to keep the vintage look of it,” Diaz said.
“It will always be the staple of Main Street,” Rasheem Rayani added.
Other than a paint job, everything will virtually remain the same about the place, including the name, Poor Richard's. And the pizza will remain the same.
Richard Freeman, Mike Freeman's father, brought his pizza recipe to his hometown of Porterville when he opened the establishment in 1970.
“We are definitely keeping the recip. It's going to taste exactly the same,” said Diaz about the pizza. About learning the recipe from the Freeman family, Diaz said, “We're in the process right now.”
Also remaining at the establishment is the iconic bar which will have about 25 bar stools. A fountain machine for beverages will be added and there will be kegs for draft beer. Along with the normal beers, the owners said IPAs will be sold and they'll also be looking to sell a couple of beers from the area.
The arcade for children will also remain. Victoria said the place will be family friendly.
What will change will be three televisions that will be placed behind the bar, one big 80-inch screen and two screens on each side. A total of 12 televisions will be placed in the establishment for patrons to catch all the sporting events.
In the future there are plans to add to the menu such items as wings and appetizers. There will also be lunch specials. And eventually at the front of the establishment will be a stage for karaoke nights.
The establishment will be open seven days a week and plans are for it to be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the business will be open as late as midnight. The owners say they want to stay open as late as possible for college football and the Sunday Night Football.
The owners said there were eight to 10 offers for the place, so they had to act quickly. “We saw the for sale sign and we just jumped on it,” Diaz said.
Victoria actually worked at Poor Richard's for five years and the place is where she and Cristian actually met.
“It's history,” Diaz said. “It's history for him, too,” added Diaz about Rasheem. “Rasheem would come here all the time as a kid.”
Diaz also owns the Big Ballers League, a basketball league that plays at Lindsay's McDermont Center. Rasheem Rayani is also the owner of The Haven cannabis dispensary that will be going into the old Letsinger building at the corner of Main and Morton. He said he hopes to have that establishment open by the end of the year.
The owners also said they will hold a grand opening for the establishment once they are ready.