Fans of Boludo (3749 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.) — and there are plenty of them — are going to eat up this news.
Chef/owner Facundo DeFraia is opening a second location of his pizza and empanadas hot spot. He's moving into a portion of the former McKinney Roe (530 S. 4th St., Mpls.), which has been dark since the East Town restaurant closed in January 2020.
"It was a deal that I couldn't refuse," he said. "It's across the street from a Starbucks, and I see people going in and out of there all the time, so that's a very good sign. I'm confident that people are going to show up."
No doubt. The new location's spacious kitchen will more than double the capacity of the original Boludo's tiny, taxed-to-the-limit operation. The hope is that the new place will take some of that pressure off Boludo 1.0, where it's not unusual to encounter a line stretching halfway down the block.
At the new location, takeout customers will be able to wait indoors, a plus during the winter months. DeFraia is also revamping his online ordering system, adding a function that will allow customers to select a pickup time.
"It will give people a lot more control," he said. "Right now, it's a lot of hassle to get a pizza, and people are still so unbelievably nice."
That's because word has gotten around, and patience pays off; this is some of the Twin Cities' most sought-after pizza, sold in a half-dozen iterations. The menu's six empanadas are also worth the wait, and the flan is a must.
Now that he's got more elbow room, DeFraia is considering a slight menu expansion.
"But I want to keep it small because we make everything fresh, daily," he said. "You can't do that if you're selling 30 kinds of empanadas."
DeFraia is calling the setup a "residency." At first, the plan is to offer takeout from a small portion of the vast McKinney Roe space, and then expanding into more square footage as the market dictates.
"The idea is to open up the patio in the spring," he said, and possibly adding indoor seating as regulations allow. "I don't really know what's going to happen, I'm just trying to live in the present."
As for an opening date, the Buenos Aires native said that he hopes to be up and running by the second week of January. Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. DeFraia added that this second location is only the beginning.
"A lot is going on, and I'm super-thankful, and super-grateful," he said. "I'm already looking for another location. My idea is to have Boludos all over the country, and hopefully all over the world. I want to see this little bit of Buenos Aires, everywhere."