Facundo Defraia's Argentinian pizza and empanadas spot Boludo is moving on from its petite original home in Minneapolis' Kingfield neighborhood. But it's not moving far.
In April, Boludo will open its doors at 8 W. 38th St. — around the corner from its first location. It's taking over a long-vacant space and, with an upgrade of more than 1,000 square feet, will have seating for 25 and a custom kitchen where Defraia may add some new menu items.
"The place was too small for us," said Defraia about the slip of a storefront carved out of neighboring Nighthawks Diner, where Boludo first opened in 2018 (3749 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls.). Before then, the Argentina-born Defraia had been making empanadas at his friend Daniel del Prado's restaurant Martina.
Those empanadas, and the diamond-shaped pizza that quickly became a local favorite, led the growing business to open a second, much larger location in downtown Minneapolis, near U.S. Bank Stadium (530 S. 4th St., Mpls.) last year.
"I'm super grateful," Defraia said. "We're doing good with everything that is going on. This city is amazing."
Defraia knew an expansion was necessary, but he didn't want to leave Kingfield if he could help it.
"This neighborhood gave us everything we have," he said. So, he lucked out when he found the new space, which had once been a tavern, and hit it off with the landlord. "We got a really good deal. Boludo is going to be there for a long, long time."
Designed by Minneapolis firm Little Box, the new Boludo will feature graffiti wallpaper from Buenos Aires. It will have a full bar, adding to the short beer and wine list in the current location. And most importantly for Defraia, it will have room to experiment with new ideas in the kitchen.
He is already eyeing future opportunities to replicate the build out in more locations.
"I'm trying to keep doing this," he said. "I'm looking for spaces and trying to see if I can open another one this year. And I have another concept as well, more Argentinian street food, and I'm really excited about it."