Forty-four years ago, on the Fourth of July, Perico's opened in Ohio, later to become one of the popular eateries on both sides of the Cape Coral-North Fort Myers border.
The restaurant, at 2401 Hancock Bridge Parkway, will celebrate its anniversary from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. here on July 4th with an extravaganza featuring doo-wop favorites, discount drinks, dancing and prizes.
Normally closed on the Fourth of July, owner Gabe Costilla said that as long as it's been open, it's only natural to celebrate its and the nation's birthday.
"We built a new patio a few months ago, and some friends asked if I would just open up that day," Costilla said. "It will get over early enough for people to go out and enjoy fireworks."
Perico's opened in 1969 in Cleveland, when it was run by Costilla's parents, and, with the exception of the few months between their move to Cape Coral in 1998-99, has been in business ever since.
"I just couldn't take the winters any more. I loved Cleveland, it was good to us," Costilla said. "Winters became too much."
Three musical acts will perform. Brylcream and Chicago Heat, two five-piece groups, will perform a mix of Doo Wop, oldies, and other songs.
The third, a nine-piece Uptown Express, will close things out with a mix of '50s, '60s and '70s hits. The band, which Costilla said has not played in Cape Coral for 18 years, should be finished by 6:30 p.m.
There also will be a pig roast to accompany its full menu, Happy Hour all day, dollar beer and other discounted drinks, such as margaritas, along with numerous prizes.
The Budweiser girls also will be there to give away T-shirts and other items, Costilla said.
"We're getting close to the 50th, so I figured we may not be open on the Fourth until then, but we figured to ring it in with a bang," Costilla said. "And everyone will still be able to go out after and watch fireworks."
Costilla said he hopes to bring in the locals from both sides of the border, so they can experience Perico's.
"Season is wonderful, but we're trying to reach our locals," Costilla said. "We're trying to be more recognizable."
There is a $10 cover and early reservations are suggested. For more information, call 829-0606 or visit them online at: www.pericosrestraurant.com.