A trio of margaritas from Margaritas on St. John Street in Portland. Photo contributed by Margaritas

Brunswick’s restaurant scene is about to get a little spicier.

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant is set to open in Merrymeeting Plaza in a 7,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Pet Quarters.

A sign advertising the new Margaritas restaurant in Brunswick at Merrymeeting Plaza. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

The new restaurant is expected to open this summer, according to Margaritas CEO Bob Ray.

“Brunswick has always been on our radar,” Ray said. “We feel like we will resonate with our guests, and we’re excited to spread out.”

The restaurant will be open for dinner and late-night service. There will be outdoor seating, and Ray said about 50 workers will be hired. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include fajitas, chicken chimichangas and enchiladas.

It’s the chain’s first new restaurant since 2016. The company was founded in 1985 by John Pelletier, when he opened Tio Juan’s in Concord, New Hampshire. He and his partners opened the first Margaritas the following year in Orono.


Ray said the company reset its business model during the COVID-19 pandemic, switching most locations to dinner and late-night service only and reducing the menu. That trend will continue in Brunswick, though Ray said they may offer lunch during the weekends at some point.

“Business is good,” he said. “We’re really excited about the prospect of growing Margaritas more. We’re 30 years in and we think we can do another 30 years.”

He said the company plans to open one new restaurant a year. It currently has 25 locations, including in Portland, Auburn, Augusta and Ellsworth. There are eight New Hampshire locations, five in Massachusetts, three in Pennsylvania, two in Connecticut and two in New Jersey. Eighteen are corporate locations and seven are franchises. The Brunswick location is corporate.

“It’s going to be a beautiful restaurant,” Ray said. “We hope people are going to love it.”

Margaritas is part of new life for Merrymeeting Plaza, where Barnes & Noble is expanding with a store expected to open this summer.

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