Mercado Buenos Aires: The famous Argentinean spot in Van NuysJul 25th, 2009 | By admin | Category: Comida, English-language stories, Perfiles / Profiles, Proyectos especiales, Van Nuys, Videos Tweet
By NATALIA ZELAYA
If you are looking for an intimate place where various ethnic groups come together to share news about Van Nuys and enjoy eating great food then Mercado Buenos Aires deli-meat market is the place for you.
Located at the corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Covello St. in the heart of the city of Van Nuys “The ‘Mercado Buenos Aires’ alias ‘El Mercadito’, started as a deli-meat market, according to restaurant General Manager Eduardo Rodríguez .
“My mother used to make the ‘empanadas’ and my aunts would help out as well. It was only carry out food. Later on, we put a table for people to eat Argentinean sandwiches with coffee. Little by little…it became a restaurant,” Rodríguez recalled.
This community restaurant opened in June of 1989 as a deli-meat market in a small shopping center in Van Nuys. “Through the years it became known for its traditionalism and for making customers feel right in the heart of Buenos Aires,” Rodríguez said.
Long time restaurant customer, Luis Campos, has been coming to Mercado Buenos Aires since it opened 20 years ago. “Throughout the years, I have introduced the place to other friends, who also became regulars.”
Campos confessed that he usually dines at the deli-meat market five or more times a month depending on the season. “You come here, and you know that you will always find somebody that you know, or a friend. It became part of my routine and part of our lives, like a part of Argentina is in the San Fernando Valley. And it’s not one thing or another, but everything in the restaurant that makes you feel that way,” Campos explained.
“What also makes Mercado Buenos Aires so special is its simplicity,” Rodriguez said, the idea is not to make it luxurious but to make people feel right at home.” Customers also get together on Sundays to watch and discuss soccer games. “A lot of television networks come here during soccer season to interview our customers,” Rodríguez noted.
Another important reason why the restaurant has been so successful over the years is the loyalty of their customers who spread the good news about the great food. “My friend Jesse Corona has told me a lot about this place and brought me here,” Stacey Fewtrel said, “and today, I’m going to order Jesse’s favorite Suprema sandwich.”
A long time friend of the original owner Manuel, alias ‘Manolo.’ Carlos Gonzales Maciel, 67, remembered when the mini-market was first opened. “I used to host an Argentinean radio show here in Los Angeles, which represented Argentina’s famous ‘radio Rivadavia,” recalled Gonzales. “We used to hang huge speakers on the walls, so people could listen to the radio while eating. Many of them would cry remembering Argentina and the friends or family left behind. It was very nostalgic.”
Another very popular order at the restaurant are morcilla and chorizo (blood and pork sausage) with the unique and authentic taste that many meat eaters love.
Vegetarians also have a chance to try authentic Argentinean cuisine. There are pizzas, salads and spinach empanadas.
“Argentinean celebrities such as Andrea del Boca, Diego Torres, Alejandro Lerner, and Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias have come here to try our food. It’s just amazing to think how far we have gone,” Rodríguez commented. “You can also buy Argentinean imports at their mini market. The prices at the restaurant and import products are very reasonable,” he concluded.
Mercado Buenos Aires is one place with the magic of making customers from different backgrounds, feel at home, wherever they feel that home is either in Argentina or in Van Nuys.
Mercado Buenos Aires is located at 7540 Sepulveda Boulevard, in Van Nuys, CA 91405. (818) 786-0522. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm, and Sunday from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.
Photo stream by NATALIA ZELAYA
Video by AMANDA MONTGOMERY
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