126 Orange Avenue, Coronado
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
The Firehouse, one of the newest sports bars in Coronado, has closed its doors, after only 3-1/2 years in business. The signs are already down, and the interior is being cleared out.
The Firehouse may have suffered from having an out-of-town owner, and also from being located close to the cavernous Nicky Rottens, at the corner of First and Orange.
The space is most famous for its decades as the "Mexican Village," a legendary hangout for Navy "brownshoes." (Navy fliers, especially during the Korea and Vietnam wars, always wore brown, not black shoes; the custom persists.) Urban myth says half the marriages in Coronado resulted from romances that spawned at the Mexican Village.
Plans are for the spacious 90-year-old building to become a Japanese steak house. It is expected to be called "Shima" — "Island," and tentative plans call for interior water features that would create three "islands" joined by small bridges.
The new owners, who apparently live in Coronado, will be offering the Western-influenced "teppanyaki"-styles of cooking, which the Benihana chain has made famous. "Teppanyaki" refers to iron griddle-style cooking. It encourages chefs to be flamboyant. Their performances can include everything from juggling utensils in the air, to splitting eggs in mid-air with spatulas, to flipping pieces of shrimp into customers' mouths, to creating onion volcanoes.
The Firehouse Grill was located in Coronado's actual historic firehouse, the second such structure on the site, erected in 1923. The first firehouse was erected here in 1892.
The transformation from Firehouse Grill to "Shima" is likely to take several months.
Thanks to eCoronado for heads-up.