In what was described as the kickoff of the end of the COVID-19 season, El Centro residents gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the Inferno Restaurant at Imperial Valley Mall.
Restaurants all over the United States struggled during the 2020 lockdowns and those that survived are now stronger businesses. Inferno is one of those success stories that not only managed to survive but also expand its brand to El Centro where its legacy will continue to grow.
“We are thrilled to welcome such an iconic Brawley restaurant here in El Centro filling the space of another iconic restaurant, Burgers, and Beer,” El Centro Mayor Cheryl Walker said in her remarks.
“The opening of Inferno brings a fresh start for the valley as we are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant business was hit hard so Inferno was not only able to survive, but grow,” said El Centro Chamber of Commerce CEO, Daniel Sohn.
For Inferno owner, Dr. Brian Tyson, the restaurant has a special meaning for him as he continues the work of his best friend, the late Ryan Harsany who was murdered years ago. Harsany started Inferno in Brawley and quickly became an Imperial Valley favorite.
“Ryan was an inspiration for me. I was opening my urgent care at the time so you had two businesses growing up together,” Tyson said.
He added that the pandemic was hard on them but they pulled together as a family and were able to overcome. It was then when Ryan Harsany’s brother, Brian, let Tyson take over the business.
“With the community’s support, we were able to succeed and expand here. It’s a legacy that we don’t want to let die never, its an opportunity to keep the Mall vibrant, and it’s an opportunity to people come together and celebrate,” Tyson said. “It’s good to back to some normalcy, see people again and continue to survive.”
Brian Harsany, Ryan’s twin brother was present at the event.
“I’m very thankful for (Tyson) taking my brother’s position and take it to the next level. Without his support Inferno may have died along with my brother so the dream still survives because of his generosity and hopefully, this can grow to other locations. My brother was Brian’s best friend and now I’m stepping up to be his best friend.”