Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
John Butterfly's Landed in South Park
Man. When it comes to South Park you've got to keep your eyes skinned. Three weeks ago, here on Juniper, I'm seeing El Camino brimming with people, chowing away, Mexican gastro-style. Today I go past (heading for Rebecca's, natch), see this guy hanging out over the balcony...
...and there's a new banner out.
"Juan Chou: tacos, sushi."
This is new. The idea, I mean. Guess I should've come on South Park's Walkabout last weekend.
These guys have been open (here at 3023 Juniper Street, between 30th and Fern, 619-487-0455) since Mexican Independence Day, September 16th.
"We thought about fusion, then we decided that was too muddy," says Vincent Carillo. "So one side of the menu is Mexican, the other's sushi."
He and his dad Frank own this place. It’s their first. Before, he was a cook, and Frank had a print shop. Vincent also used to work bar here Thursday nights. But he and Frank had always wanted to try their hand at a restaurant, and when the El Camino people decided to concentrate on their Little Italy place, they jumped at it.
Vincent, second from left, and crew
The name? "Well, if you translate, 'Juan Chou' it means "John Butterfly," he says. "We kinda liked that, in a funny way."
Vincent says you'd pay maybe $25 for a roll and a drink, $15 for a roll, though I see $11 rolls on the day's specials blackboard.
Whatever, a bit beyond me today. Pity. The place looks so danged inviting. Lots of ebony-colored wood, red walls, bonsai trees...
...and laughing Buddhas...
...and kinda intimate sit-up sushi bar....
...Plus that little outdoor deck. Real colorful.
Vincent is pretty colorful himself. He's decked out in a mass of bright-inked tattoos.
Around his neck Gothic writing says "Truth Excels Death."
"What does that mean?" I ask him.
"Oh, that's just part of my quirky religious outlook," he says. "I believe we won't know anything till we pass to the other side."
Huh. That's pretty much how I see it.
"So, meantime," I say, "I guess it's eat lotsa tacos and sushi, drink, and be merry."