José Miguel Aguilar, with Rosario Fuentes, the restaurant's cook. / salvador salas

Popular Malaga restaurant shuts doors after 55 years, suffocated by spiralling costs

The Covid pandemic, a drop in banquets and celebrations, the war in Ukraine and subsequent increased costs and energy prices have forced José Miguel Aguilar to throw in the towel

JUAN CANO Malaga

Venta El Torcal, the emblematic restaurant in Puerto de la Torre, Malaga has just closed down after 55 years because the owners can no longer afford to run it. José Miguel Aguilar, whose father opened the business in 1967, made the reluctant decision to throw in the towel because he said he was having to pay out 1,000 euros a week and couldn’t go on.

He made the decision a couple of weeks ago but his family had been putting pressure on him to close the restaurant for some time, especially after he suffered a stroke. “I wanted to keep a bit of hope alive,” he said, but after the economic crisis, Covid, increased costs and energy prices and now the war in Ukraine, he has finally had to give in.

Out of fashion

When he told his friends and clients what he had decided they were sad, but he had no choice. “Puerto de la Torre is no longer in fashion. We have a room for banquets and celebrations and it used to be really popular but very few people want to hold those here these days,” he said.

As he owns the building, he is now considering what to do with it. “I’m sad, of course I am. My father, my parents, my whole family have dedicated our lives to this business,” he said. “But with the current situation it’s impossible and a lot of other businesses are going to end up closing in this area”.

José Manuel is convinced that the economic situation will continue to worsen and although he feels “guilty” that he wasn’t able to go on, he said it was the best decision at this time. However, in a way, he said, making the decision to close almost feels like a “release”.