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.
“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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