Colombian Fusion meets Duluth, GA
I have never had Colombian food before but I noticed that one of the organizers on our Meetup had created a group meetup at “Let’s Go Eat: Colombian Fast Food”. The funny thing about this is that I did not understand the name and thought that nicknamed the event without including the name of the restaurant. To get some better clarity, I decided to go there myself and check out this place. My goal was to try the food and get the name of the restaurant.
Upon getting here and seeing the actual restaurant from the outside, I was shocked to find out that the name literally was “Let’s Go Eat: Colombian Fast Food.” As long of a name as that is, I guess it’s definitely something I will not forget. When I walked into this spot, I was also shocked about how large of a venue it was. Later I would find out that this used to be a grocery store that has been repurposed into a restaurant. If you have a large group event, this is definitely one of the spots in Duluth that are perfect for such a gathering as I am pretty positive they could easily fit 100 people here.
The “Hamburgesa”: A Monster of a Burger
Before moving further with this spot, I had to try something first. The menu was broken up into hot dogs, burgers and other dishes that I’ve never heard of that were popular fast foods in Colombia. To play it safe, I tried the burger. I thought this would be a regular size item and didn’t know that this thing would come In a monstrous size. I can’t really say all that was part of this burger but the flavor was insane! From what I could pull out of the manager, this burger consists of an Angus patty, guacamole, bacon, cheddar, mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes (red and green), crunch potatoes, a quail egg, and some other things. It came out in a great presentation and frankly, it forced my perception of this place to change quickly.
Something that you will find in Venezuelan and Colombian restaurants is that they are big on special sauces. That said, I was first a bit confused about all the sauces that my waiter brought to the table with my burger but she explained that it was a variety of flavors to try with each bite. My personal favorite was the pineapple sauce, we also had a bacon sauce and garlic sauce.
What is the Story of “Lets Go Eat”
After this experience, I had to meet the owner and get the story behind this restaurant. The owner Julian has a unique past that’s worth noting. While working in construction, he was facing some financial hardships due to a lack of work and decided to begin cooking out of his apartment to make extra money now 8 years ago.
This idea was sparked by his love for cooking. He always wanted to be a military chef and was in the Colombian military and had a love for cooking although; until this time, he had only cooked for his wife. One day when he wanted to try and figure out a way to make money he went to the grocery store with only $37 and the rest is history.
I jumped in the car and obeyed God and went to Kroger. I circled around the store until security came telling me I was looking strange and to buy something and leave. – JULIAN, LETS GO EAT
After being told to buy something and leave the store by a security officer. He grabbed ingredients on a whim to make his first menu item which would be the hotdog. He grabbed all the ingredients he could and went home to create his first dish. Putting it on Instagram and opening up Friday and Saturday from 7-4:00 AM and Sundays from 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM. They did this for a year and a half with a constant flow of traffic. this grew until they had to move out of their apartment due to the large traffic.
A few struggles along the way
The original plan was to save up for a food truck. This was a hard thing for him since he did not have the funds but they were saving their revenue and trying to do events and set up booths. Until they had a restaurant they would constantly set up a booth every weekend and were using that to save for the truck. At one particular event, a huge storm set in and blew away many of their belongings setting them back big time. From that one moment, they had to start from scratch. Still, Julian tried to make up for it by sub renting a restaurant from 8-4 AM, and eventually, that fell through due to issues with the food at the location.
After these setbacks, they went into personal catering where many other items on today’s menu would be formed due to client demands such as the Hamburgesa, tostada burger, and others. During this time, a friend of his from Colombia called him and asked to partner up with his idea and help him to grow it bigger.
Shortly after this time, he saw that the former supermarket in his area was open for rent. A friend would call him and give him the contact info for the owners. Julian was a bit fearful about the size but he felt God had intervened in this situation and somehow smoothed out the negotiation process.
From this time, he had been struggling for 7 years to get his idea off the ground and now he is finally at his own location. When you go into this place, you quickly learn that it is – in fact, a huge space. I think they could easily fit over 150 people if they needed to so you will normally be able to find a place to sit.
Something else to notice is that everything inside of Lets Go Eat has been handmade by Julian and his team from the tables to the bar. Even the plants, light fixtures, and chairs are made from scratch.
He did not broadcast his opening but just put up a banner and just wanted to see how things went. They had a full house the first day and were successful. Still, there are problems with wait times and the only thing on the menu was the burger and the hot dog. After fighting through the normal struggles of opening a new restaurant and opening right before Covid, he fought through this time and now has a great process. Not only is the process better,
After being blown away by the hamburgers, Julian told me to try the tortiburger so the next time I came around, that was my order and it’s become my favorite burger since. This burger is made in-house and from scratch, the patties are wrapped in a flour tortilla with a tostada base. At the bottom is Crunch chips potato, leaf lettuce, red tomato, green tomato, American cheese, Angus beef, grill onions, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and quail egg. There are 3 types of cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack). If that sounds like a ton of ingredients, it is and this thing comes out looing larger than the burger.
On my first attempt at it, I was only able to finish one half. On my 2nd attempt, I actually finished the whole thing but regretted it. If you want a challenge this will be it. The potato chips and tostada make it have a great crunch but all the cheeses, sauces, and veggies just make this burger heavenly.
Other things I really love here are the fried plantain and the tacos which are my wife’s favorite. The tortilla shells for the taco are made in-house and have a great flavor.
GREAT FOOD WITH A GREAT STORY
Altogether, this restaurant is a must-try if you have not been! To me, it is something that you would find in a food truck as far as the creativity of the dishes with all the positives of a family-style restaurant. The food is amazing, the owners and workers are friendly – that’s about the best way I can sum this up!