It’s been a wild three years for Omar D’Angelo, owner of Barroluco Argentine. In late June of 2016, D’Angelo announced he would be opening up his food truck, which would specialize in dishes like empanadas, paella rice, and churros–you know, only the best. It started as a way to show the Columbus community the style of Latino cooking, and was quickly named the best food truck of the 2017 Columbus Food
But that’s not all that was in store for D’Angelo. Barroluco Argentine went on to take first place two years in a row at the Whitehall Food Truck And Fun Fest in 2017 and 2018, and it went back-to-back in those same years at the Westerville Music And Art Festival, as well.
Now it’s 2019, and for D’Angelo, the wins are still coming after he officially opened the doors to his first brick-and-mortar location of Barroluco Argentine on Pearl St. in downtown Columbus in mid-November of 2018. It’s a cozy and minimal set up inside the restaurant, but as a place that was once a food truck, aesthetic comes second when your food does the heavy lifting in the lunch game.
People aren’t coming for ambience and boujee cocktails, they are here for quick comfort food that boasts more Latino flavor than whatever you get on your Chipotle burrito.
While we’re talking about Chipotle, let’s get something clear: this is not “Mexican” food. You’re not going to find tacos here—mostly because tacos are a Tex-Mex creation—and, as D’Angelo explained, there’s a difference between the two styles of cuisine.
“Argentine food concentrates more in grilled meats and breads when Mexican concentrates more in spicy foods and a variety of sauces,” D’Angelo explained.
This isn’t to say Barroluco doesn’t keep things saucy at the restaurant, it’s just the sauce isn’t a main feature of the dish. Instead, it’s something that compliments the dish. Your order of paella rice can be prepared
with sausage, chicken, or mixed veggies; and then you are given the option to add a spicy salsa, or a mild salsa, or perhaps their specialty cream-based sauce, the salsa golf. It’s building layers of flavor on top of more layers of flavor.
There’s also crossover between the two cuisines, and it’s in the form of churros. Barroluco Argentine offers churros in two different variations, dulche de leche or chocolate, and you should probably just order both because why chance missing out? The exterior is crispy and crunchy as it’s covered in cinnamon and sugar while the inside is warm and soft. Are you drooling yet?
The menu at Barroluco will remain relatively the same to the food truck’s menu, but there are some new additions like the Barroluco sandwich or the Sandwich de Miga. The Sandwich de Miga is something akin to the American cucumber sandwich popular at tea-time parties, but instead of cucumbers and cream cheese on bread (gross!), it features white bread, ham, egg, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a dollop of special sauce. Essentially, it’s a sandwich you would actually want to eat during a party.
The idea behind launching a brick-and-mortar location wasn’t so much to expand the space and menu as much as it was a chance to better build relationships with both loyal customers and new faces in the lunch rush. D’Angelo explained that while the instant success of being at events like the Food Truck Festival or NightLight 614 have helped grow his presence in Columbus, but long lines at food trucks don’t create for ample time to curate relationships.
“I feel we have more time and contact with the customers at the restaurant now. The food truck attracts many people and the lines a very long some times,” D’Angelo explained. “We reduce the waiting time by having two lines working simultaneously, so we have a little more time to engage with customers.”
However, having the extra space doesn’t hurt. D’Angelo said it gives them more opportunities to cook up different Argentinian specialities. He said he and his team are amazed by the extra space they now have, and after working in a confined space like a food truck, having that elbow room has to add some ease to the detailed process of hand creating menu items like the empanadas which are individually stamped with “Barroluco” and “Columbus” on the creases.
So what’s in store for D’Angelo and his bag of wins? Only time will tell. Until then, he’s focused keeping the restaurant in top performance which is what he believes has thrust him into the position he’s in today.
“I think it’s the support our the rich story behind the business and the differentiation of our offerings,” D’Angelo said. “The quality of our offerings and the service are also highlighted by Columbusites!”
Barroluco Argentine is located on 47 N. Pearl St. and is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday through Friday.