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Capitol Hill food+drink | Vaca Loca hopes crazy love for sandwiches enough for long stay in Broadway Alley

11156345_1422390878069266_2237833160372104042_nThe recent history of Broadway Alley’s Suite 14 is painful for you, we know. One after the other, affordable, Latin American-flavored restaurants have come to the space, won your heart, and, then, shuttered. Count the ways: Villa Escondida (2014), Torteria Barriga Llena (2013), Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria (2010).

We’re not going to make any promises that first-time restaurateur Daniel Rosero can’t keep but if his newly opened Vaca Loca is going to make it, he knows what will make the little place in the back of the Broadway Alley famous.

“Sandwiches,” he said. “$8.50. And delicious.”

Knowing what on your menu you’ll live and die by is likely an important element to success in a space tucked away inside the eclectic Broadway Alley. Rosero only has to look upstairs for an example of success. Tacos Chukis has survived — and expanded — inside Broadway Alley powered in most part by doing one thing really well.

IMG_5412Vaca Loca’s menu is a little more ambitious but Rosero is hoping affordable, Latin-style sandwiches — including the Gaucho, the Cubano, and the Crazy Cow — will be the start of your long lasting relationship together. Other street food-style items like Latin Hot Dogs and the Sweet Corn bowls should also create a little intrigue. Breakfast will start as a weekend-only offering but Rosero is hoping that demand for arepas will grow beyond Saturdays and Sundays. Hours are a work in progress but, for now, Vaca Loca is planning to be open for lunch and serving until 9 PM.

Rosero said Vaca Loca is now his full time focus after working in real estate. The leap into the restaurant business came when a real estate connection told Rosero about a deal on the challenged space. Rosero said he’s had the idea for a restaurant in his head for years and the chance to put the plan into motion got a boost when he found a chef to make it all happen during one of his frequent trips to Colombia. Gustavo Aristizabal is new to the country, new to Seattle, and new to Broadway but the chef is ready to give Rosero’s ideas shape — with plenty of garlic sauce.

Vaca Loca has spent the week slowly ramping up. Rosero said he believes his restaurant is now ready to win your love. If nothing else, the liquor license is in place and the bar is stocked and ready to serve up a refajo or two.

Vaca Loca is located inside the Broadway Alley at 219 Broadway E. You can learn more at facebook.com/vacalocaseattlelatinrestaurant.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 9.00.47 PM

    (Image: Herb and Bitter via Facebook)

    Food and drink veteran Jesus Escobar’s Broadway public house Herb and Bitter will open next week. CHS told you about the project way back in August 2014:
    Buried beneath layers of drywall and all those mirrors, you might not have noticed that the old Broadway home of Than Brothers is a classic, 1923-built masonry storefront. But Jesus Escobar noticed. He is working away this summer to unbury that past and prepare the space for a new Capitol Hill food and drink venture that he’ll build with his own two hands.

  • Newly signed legislation is good news for local distilleries like Sun Liquor and Oola. The new rules “allow distilleries to mix cocktails at their tasting rooms, showcase and sell their spirits at farmers’ markets.”
  • How big is the Capitol Hill food and drink boom? Even the corner bodegas are adding restaurants.
  • Did you catch Vivace founder David Schomer’s meditation on the macchiato — and affordability?
    Up to the final counter and I pour the textured milk into the red-brown crema, effortlessly forming a beautiful pattern. Latte art is silky foams doing what they want to do, flow into the cup, with a little help from me. It takes years to master. Lately I have been favoring the concentric heart pattern for the finish.
  • MAVAM Espresso is making custom machines in Pike/Pine — and looking for a home to create a new showroom and cafe.Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 9.18.00 PM
  • Po Dog Capitol Hill… still open. Po Dog Ballard… closed.
  • Somebody ripped off the Ezell’s truck.
  • Rancho Bravo’s drive-thru should be quite the Pike/Pine scene.
  • Soi is “the other ambitious restaurant project coming to 10th and Union.”
  • Renee Erickson, meantime, hasn’t announced publicly the name for her new 10th/Union project. Permits call it General Porpoise and say the construction has a $850,000 base budget.
  • Mamnoon has revamped its lunch offerings to more closely mirror its evening entrees. Meanwhile, we’re told the street counter menu is still available day and night.
  • “Last year, Scott Staples’s chic Capitol Hill bistro converted its kitchen garden into a patio, where 24 diners can sit surrounded by plants, flowers, ivy, and an overall private garden vibe. Strings of white cafe lights overhead add to the charm…”
  • “‘After dealing with the state in a niche-spirits bar, privatization has been much better,’ says Casey Robison, bar manager at Capitol Hill’s Barrio. ‘I wish we had understood the actual cost of passing 1183, but my job has gotten a lot better since…'”
  • “I’m waiting for the day that Seattle and this whole country has a rebound from the Ethans and the Toms, who own [a bunch of] restaurants and consider that a positive. For one thing it’s hard for the newcomers coming in who have to compete with those machines….”
  • 15th Ave E’s Hopvine is celebrating its 20th year of business in 2015.
  • E Union is getting a permanent Pocket Bakery.
  • Opening in MadronaVendemmia.
  • Witness — born summer 2013 — just sold its 10,000th plate of chicken and waffles:

    (Image: Witness via Facebook)

    (Image: Witness via Facebook)

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5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Vaca Loca hopes crazy love for sandwiches enough for long stay in Broadway Alley

  1. **10,000th plate of chicken and waffles at Witness, according to the Facebook page. I stared at that “10th” for awhile wondering why they would keep something on the menu if it took them two years to sell ten and then take a photo to commemorate their failings.

  2. I hope these guys make it. Part of the reason the last place left is because they couldn’t get a liquor license. That space is a hard sell.

  3. Would help if Vaca Loca was open when during their listed business hours and had the listed menu items available. I’ve come several times to find it inexplicably closed, and have been told they don’t actually make the soup that’s on the menu. Oh, but it’s very good, I’m told…