Don Panza: Is it really location, location, location?

When I talked with Samuel and Carolina Garcia at Don Panza for October’s Advocate CliffDweller Delicious feature, they told me that neighbors who have found their Argentine restaurant at Clarendon and Ravinia have given them good feedback overall.

"The only questions customers ask is whether we’re in the right area," Samuel Garcia told me.

A few of their customers have suggested the Garcias move to the Bishop Arts District, which is more visible and receives more restaurant traffic. The Garcias are hoping to relocate eventually, but they’re not sure whether the difference between the rent at their current location amid auto repair shops and taquerias and a much higher rent in Bishop Arts would bring in enough additional customers to make it worth their while.
This led to a discussion of whether location matters more than good quality food, and for two immigrants — one from Mexico and one from Argentina — who are trying to make it with their own restaurant, it’s a question they are seriously examining. Right now, Samuel is working at both Don Panza and another restaurant so that the Garcias and their two little girls can make ends meet. All restaurants are struggling in the current economy, and Samuel told me he knows that unless Don Panza can attract more of the Bishop Arts-type clientele, his could be one of the casualties.

I sure hope they make it. I’ve spent the last few weeks dreaming about those empanadas.


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