CORBIN—Luis Merced hopes to bring a whole new cultural experience to downtown Corbin with the opening of his restaurant, El Placer.

With the music, the décor, the atmosphere and the variety of delightful flavors from different cultures, Merced was able to do just that.

“I wanted something different,” said Merced, owner of El Placer. “Everywhere around here you see a lot of Mexican restaurants, so I wanted this to be different and give people a choice between Mexican, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan and Honduran.”

Merced said customers will see items normally offered at other Mexican restaurants on the menu but El Placer also offers dishes from Puerto Rico, Honduras and Guatemala.

The restaurant also offers a variety of tropical smoothies made fresh in their Smoothie Bar, which Merced said was just added last week.

“There are a lot of bars in the area, so why not offer a smoothie bar for people to come in and enjoy,” he said.

Merced hopes to also have live bands come and play on the stage inside the restaurant in the future.

Merced said that “El Placer” means “the pleasure” in Spanish, something he thought a lot about before choosing a name for his restaurant.

“I wanted to name it something unique, something different,” he said. “When you eat here, I want you to have a good time, enjoy the food and that’s what it’s all about.”

Merced hopes that El Placer will be a place that people can bring their families and enjoy something a little different.

“We have a variety of different flavors from different cultures and that’s what sets this restaurant apart from everyone else,” he said. “They have barbecue restaurants, American restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Italian restaurants but Corbin doesn’t have a Puerto Rican restaurant—and then I wanted to bring different cultures in, too.”

El Placer officially opened four weeks ago and Merced said the restaurant has been receiving lots of great reviews with several repeat customers already coming back to try new dishes and new smoothie flavors.

Merced said his family has been a big part of his success thus far, as his mother and sister-in-law have been helping out in the kitchen and his niece created the artwork on one of the walls in the restaurant.

El Placer is located at 408 South Main Street, across from Hardee’s. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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