El Barrio Open for Lunch
El Barrio opened for lunch on Tuesday. They had repeatedly told me they were trying to not to draw too much attention so that they would have small crowds and be able to perfect the processes. Well, by Thursday they were slammed. The food is fantastic. I got a sneak preview last Friday when I was dropping off the utility bills. They brought out every taco on the menu, so I got to try out about half the lunch offering in one swoop. I've learned in this process that I am terrible at describing food. I keep telling people it's Mexican, but not like any Mexican food you've ever had. The menu looks typical at first glance, but read the descriptions and you'll see what I mean. Weld did a much better description than I ever could, so read this. I haven't figured out what is my favorite dish on the menu, but I'm really digging the Pozole.
While they are only open for lunch right now, Chris told me today that their liquor license came through, so they should be opening for dinner in the next couple of weeks. I haven't seen a dinner menu yet, but the featured item is unbelievable. Can't wait to show it to you.
Now that they're open I can finally post pictures of the dining room. El Barrio seats about 60 inside. When the weather gets warm again they'll add some more seating outside along the sidewalk. They have two long harvest tables for large parties, as well as booths and 4-top tables. There's a long bar along the western wall where they'll be serving locally brewed beers, wine, and made-from-scratch margaritas. Bench seats run along the front windows with low tables where people can stop in for quick appetizers and refreshments. Jeremy Erdreich did a good write up from an architect's point of view, so if you didn't check that out last month I highly recommend it.
Most everything is made out of materials reclaimed either from Storkland, or from other Appleseed projects. Wood and steel give an industrial but intimate feel. A mural covers the eastern wall. It catches your attention the moment you walk inside and you keep staring, seeing other new details. The mural was painted by Shane B, a regionally sought-after tattoo artist with Non-Stop Art around the corner. The most amazing part is that he used nothing but spray paint. I couldn't imagine drawing all of that detail with an aerosol can.