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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mission Fast-Food Joint Mr. Pollo Now an Ingredient-Driven Colombian Eatery

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:26 AM

click to enlarge The tiny counter at Mr. Pollo. New chef Manny Torres Gimenez cooked at Quince and Coi. - JOSE C./YELP
  • jose c./Yelp
  • The tiny counter at Mr. Pollo. New chef Manny Torres Gimenez cooked at Quince and Coi.
Competition for prime arepa real estate may be heating up, no matter how small the location. (Watch your back, Pica Pica!) With its four tables and one counter seat, Mission hole-in-the-wall Mr. Pollo, which is near the 24th Street BART station, suddenly has staff in spanking new white chefs' coats. What had been a fast-food Colombian restaurant now has a daily changing menu featuring organic salad and "Farmers Market Vegis" [sic] with empanadas, arepas or chacapas; protein choices of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and goat; and sides of rice, beans, yucca, and the like. But maybe the most surprising breakout move by chef Manny Torres Gimenez is a daily tasting menu for $15.

Torres Gimenez, 27, became partners with the owner of Mr. Pollo four months ago, and started transforming the place into a market-driven Colombian eatery. Torres Gimenez spent time in the kitchens at Quince and Coi, where his job included butchering. He's doing the same thing at Mr. Pollo. "I buy whole lambs, whole goats and butcher them myself," he said.

click to enlarge Mr. Pollo's menu. - MSWINE/FLICKR
  • mswine/Flickr
  • Mr. Pollo's menu.
Tropical music, passion fruit juice, and rich and toasty-melted arepas with faintly sweet fried exteriors add to the dough-laden good times. "We're trying to clean (it) up here, make it look more professional," a staff member on duty with Torres Gimenez told us yesterday. He added that there were plans to upgrade kitchen equipment, too.

Staff takes a break from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily, so plan your feasting accordingly.

Mr. Pollo 2823 Mission (at 24th Street), 375-1185; cash only

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Mary Ladd

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