BOSTON (CBS) – Nearly three years after a devastating fire that wiped out an entire block of businesses, a longtime staple in the Fenway neighborhood has reopened.

El Pelon Taqueria opened the doors to its newly rebuilt Peterborough Street location on Tuesday.

The popular Mexican restaurant is the first of three restaurants returning to their old locations.

Thornton’s Fenway Grille and Rod Dee Thai Cuisine are both putting on the final touches. According Thornton’s Facebook page, they expect to be open in a matter of weeks, if not days.

Back on January 6, 2009, a short circuit in the ceiling of Thornton’s sparked a massive blaze that swept through the entire strip of businesses.

By the time the smoke had cleared, six restaurants and a dry cleaner were destroyed.

Some of those businesses had been in the same spot for decades. They were considered by many to be the heart of the Fenway neighborhood.

After the fire, residents set up tribute pages on Facebook, and the mayor offered the city’s help with rebuilding.

El Pelon Head chef Carlos Robles said he’s thrilled to be back.

“A lot of the customers we used to have in the neighborhood are still in the neighborhood and they’re coming back,” said Robles.

El Pelon looks virtually the same as it did before the fire. The owner says they purposely did that to keep things familiar. The only sign of the damage is an jersey with burn marks hung up on the wall.

Unfortunately, four of the businesses destroyed in the fire will not be returning. But that also paves the way for new ventures.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports

In place of Sorrento’s pizza, construction is underway on Japanese restaurant, Swish Shabu.

Monty Gold owns the strip and says he still has three vacancies but he’s determined to fill the spaces with “mom-and-pop” shops versus national chains.

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez contributed to this report


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