Restaurants close for all sorts of reasons — lackluster sales, rent hikes, nonpayment of taxes, health-code violations — but “car crash” isn’t usually one of them.
That was the fate that befell Casa Luis on Oct. 2, 2017, when a minivan crashed into the Smithtown restaurant and burst into flames, killing the driver and narrowly missing the owners, Luis and Carmen Estevez.
It took the Estevez family more than a year to regroup, but on Thursday, Casa Luis reopens for business. Delia Estevez, daughter of the owners, said that the kitchen had been destroyed in the crash and has been completely rebuilt. While they were at it, the family updated the dining room as well.
Casa Luis has been one of Long Island’s most durable Spanish restaurants. It opened in 1990 with a menu of Spanish and continental classics plus a smattering of Mexican dishes that were eventually jettisoned.
The current menu remains unchanged from before the crash. It includes tapas such as tortilla Espanola and shrimp with garlic sauce, soups such as gazpacho and caldo Gallego , mains such as paella, filet mignon, veal chops and chicken Villeroy.
Casa Luis is open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday.
1033 W. Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, 631-543-4656, casa-luis.com