California Burrito Company Draws in Buenos Aires with Taco Tuesdays

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Chilling at CBC’s Taco Tuesdays in Buenos Aires.Taco Tuesdays at the California Burrito Company (CBC) are a chaotic mix of funk, food, fun, and two-for-one Margarita specials, all in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires. Though often thought of as a cliché marketing ploy in the U.S., this aptly named night isn’t just about discounted tacos. It’s a hodgepodge of social networking, drinking, live music, and yes, fantastically authentic California-style Mexican food, in Buenos Aires.

The idea is to bring in new business with discounted prices and live music. However, it also serves as a multicultural meeting point for some cheap fun on a night where not much is usually going on. Even in a vibrant mega-city such as Buenos Aires, Tuesday is, well, Tuesday.

The space itself is on the smaller side, with a narrow, yet long, dining area and a service area and kitchen in the back. It’s set up more like a cafeteria, rather than a traditional sit-down restaurant. There’s ample seating space, and when the band plays on Tuesdays, they set up at the front of the restaurant near the street.

Though it’s a relatively new business, The CBC on Lavalle draws a steady crowd daily. And it’s not just for tourists and American ex-pats. According to co-owner Sam Nadler, the typical crowd at the burrito joint is mostly Argentine. “I’d say that it’s usually about 80/20 Argentines to Americans,” Nadler said. “Tonight (Taco Tuesday) it’s about 50/50.”

Taco Tuesdays at the California Burrito Company!So what’s the draw? Well, for starters, it’s unique. Mexican food is not particularly popular in Buenos Aires. The Argentine diet differs greatly from the spices, peppers, and tortillas which are the staples of Mexican cuisine. It’s not even too far off to say that the CBC could be the only restaurant in Buenos Aires where you can get an authentic burrito, and one of two places which sell nachos. In fact, a “tortilla” in Argentina is a kind of quiche-like soufflé, and a “taco” is a shoe heel.

But much like sushi when it was first introduced to the U.S., this Mexican snack food restaurant has a cult following, and it’s spreading. There’s a buzz in the expat community going on about CBC which rivals some of the bigger bars such as the Alamo and The Shamrock, typically packed with English-speaking foreigners. The difference with CBC is that it also has the rare ability to draw locals.

CBC was founded by Jordan Metzner, Chris Burns, and Sam Nadler. Three guys in their mid-twenties who have been living and working in Buenos Aires since 2005. Metzner and Nadler met at Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, and met Burns after moving to Buenos Aires. They opened CBC in April 2006, and business has been growing steadily ever since.

CBC is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but opens from 8am to 11pm Monday through Friday. And don’t think Tuesday is the only day to go. The CBC serves its full drink and food menu all week.

California Burrito Company
Lavalle 441, Buenos Aires
4328-3057 / 4328-3056
CBC Website


Emily on March 7, 08

I think CBC should deliver to Caballito …

César González on March 8, 08

…and Martinez…

[…] queen, who fries up the tortillas. A simple task, but one of the reasons why our tacos rocked and CBC’s steamed and mysteriously greasy flour tortillas make the experience less than exciting, […]

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