Barroco Arepa Bar to Expand Again, this Time to Crocker Park


Northeast Ohio diners have watched as local upstarts like B Spot, Melt and Barrio have grown from trendy one-off to regional chain. Not too far behind is Barroco Arepa Bar, the popular Colombian-themed restaurant that first opened doors in Lakewood (12906 Madison Ave., 216-221-8127) back in 2011. Last summer, the eatery run by Juan and Carlos Vergara expanded to the east side, with a splashy new location on Larchmere (12718 Larchmere Blvd., 216-938-9301).

Next up for the energetic Vergaras is a third location at Crocker Park in Westlake.

Owner Juan Vergara
  • Owner Juan Vergara
“We weren’t even looking to do another restaurant but the opportunity opened up,” says Juan. “I feel like things are running smoothly at both Barrocos and although a third restaurant was not in our plans, we feel like our concept deserves it. I think we’re going to get great exposure over there. I can’t wait to show off Barroco to a lot of people who don’t know us yet.”

The new restaurant will move into the space that was most recently home to 87 West 2 (287 Crocker Park Blvd.), which quietly closed its doors a few weeks back.

Vergara says that the space will present the family with a few design challenges, but nothing that can’t be overcome. A full kitchen will need to be installed and the layout completely changed. But the overall space is similar in size to Barroco’s other stores.

“We’re used to working in a small enough space in Lakewood, kitchen-wise, so this will be fine,” he adds.

Vergara says that he considered running with a less ambitious spin-off type concept, but in the end decided to go with same format, including weekend brunch and the occasional live music. Early design plans call for some attention-grabbing signage on the exterior of the building in an attempt to get noticed.

“This place kind of blends in and I want to be seen,” he says of the building.

Vergara adds that they are shooting for a June or July opening.

“We’re really excited and we think we’re going to have a lot of fun there,” Vergara explains. “Larchmere was a great move for us, we’re having a lot of fun, we’re getting amazing feedback from the community, we’re staying busy and growing our brunch crowd. We’re stretching ourselves so that it’s still going to be a family run business. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t think we could.”

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