Say 'Hola' to Barrio en Lakewood

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When Barrio, a casual taco concept, opened last year in the former 806 Wine and Martini Bar spot in Tremont, people questioned the move. How well would a taco joint fit in a posh cocktail lounge, people naturally wondered.

Apparently, very well. Not yet one year old, Barrio (806 Literary Rd., 216-999-7714) already is expanding. On May 5, one year to the day that the Tremont spot opened, Barrio en Lakewood will open. The exact spot, on Madison Avenue, is being kept under wraps until current staffers are notified of the change.

"Things are really taking off in Tremont, so we decided to solidify the concept and try another market," explains owner Joe Kahn. "If that goes well, maybe we'll open a lot of these."

Kahn credits freshness, freedom and fun as the top three reasons Barrio is blowing up.

"Everything is fresh — we don't use any frozen veggies," adds Kahn. "People love the freedom to be creative, to choose what they want on their tacos. And we've created something that's fun as well. People love the atmosphere, the price and the margaritas."

There have been slight tweaks to the menu and concept since opening day on Cinco de Mayo last year, but for the most part it's full steam ahead.

"We'll keep doing what we're doing," notes Kahn. "After a year we've gotten to the point in our minds where we like what we're doing."

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