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November 12, 2015 - 2:23pm

El Rincon brings a little bit of Colombia to Batavia

posted by Raymond Coniglio in batavia, business, restaurant, El Rincon, Colombia food.

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Marisol Leon, left, who owns El Rincon Colombiano with her husband, Guillermo, is pictured at the Batavia restaurant with waitresses Melinda Amaro, center, and Elena Vega.

Marisol Leon grew up in Colombia, and is happy to share its flavors with Batavia diners.

She and her husband Guillermo opened El Rincon Colombiano Restaurant on Nov. 1 in Valu Plaza.

It’s a second Batavia restaurant for the Leons, who opened their Mexican restaurant, Rancho Viejo, four years ago on Ellicott Street.

Marisol Leon promises “a new experience” for local diners who are not familiar with the South American nation’s food.

“They can try different flavors and learn a little more about another country,” she said.

Marisol and Guillermo — who is from Mexico — originally opened the Valu Plaza location earlier this year as El Burrito Loco. 

The switch from “El Burrito” to “El Rincon,” proves necessity is the mother of invention. After a good start, Marisol said, they had trouble finding a talented Mexican cook.

The solution? “Try Colombian,” Marisol said.

And hire Alberto Rincon, who brings both his name and talents as chef to El Rincon.

Rincon, like Marisol Leon, is a native of Bucaramanga, a city in Colombia’s northeast. He has moved to Batavia with his wife, Anamilde, who is responsible for El Rincon’s homemade baked goods. 

The menu will seem familiar to anyone who enjoys Mexican food. But Mexican and Colombian cooking developed from different regions and traditions — like cousins who have a family resemblance, but very different personalities.

While far from being bland, Colombian food is not as spicy as Mexican, Marisol explained. You also won’t find tortillas or much salsa, and beans are not as prominently featured.

“A lot of steak and seafood,” is how Marisol describes El Rincon’s menu.

Colombian cuisine also features a lot of soups. (“Every day for lunch,” Marisol said.) In addition to a soup of the day, El Rincon serves cazuela de langosta (lobster) and cazuela de mariscos (seafood), creamy soups served with rice, salad and fried plantain slices.

Bandeja paisa, is one of Colombia’s most popular — and most generous — dishes. It includes rice, red beans and ground beef “cooked Colombian style,” along with egg, chorizo (pork sausage), avocado, plantain, arepa (flatbread) and chicharon (fried pork).

“It’s a lot of food,” Marisol said.

El Rincon has a children’s menu, and an “American” menu that includes cheeseburgers and roast beef sandwiches. Take-out is also available.

Marisol said they hope to have a liquor license in place within a month or so, after which the restaurant will serve aguardiente, a sugar cane liqueur; Ron Caldas, a Colombian rum; and Club Colombia beer.

The “flavors” of Colombia, extend also to El Rincon’s ambiance. That includes both the decor and the wait staff, which is outfitted in yellow Colombia National Soccer Team jerseys.

One wall has been painted white, and decorated with bright green and orange shutters and doors. It’s a reflection of the stucco walls and tile roofs of the “Pueblito Paisa,” a popular tourist attraction in Medellin, Colombia.

Marisol said it’s an opportunity to take a trip, without having to travel.

“People don’t need to go to Columbia,” she said. “They can find it here.”

El Rincon Colombiano is located at 4125 W. Main St. (Valu Plaza), Batavia. Winter hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.

During summer, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Fridays.

El Rincon is closed Saturdays. For information call (585) 201-7602.

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Batavia's El Rincon Colombiano Restaurant features Colombian decor, including a hammock and espadrilles -- a kind of slipper. The restaurant opened Nov. 1 in Valu Plaza.

jeff saquella
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CLOSED SATURDAY'S???.......a restaurant closed on saturday's is unthinkable in this town

Raymond Richardson
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Saturday's are tough days to turn a profit for any restaurant. If you can't exceed your cost by at least 20%, it doesn't pay to open the door.

jeff saquella
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saturday's are tough day's to turn a profit??? do you live in batavia ray? friday and saturday are the two busiest nights in batavia for restaurants. by 6:00 there is a waiting line at just about every restaurant in town

Mary E DelPlato
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still waiting for a healthy veggie organic restaurant

Howard B. Owens
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Start one. If you think there's an opening in the market, do it. If nobody but you sees the opportunity, nobody else is going to do it.

Raymond Richardson
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No Jeff, I live in Rochester, and there are quite a few locally owned restaurants closed on Saturdays here.

As I said, if they can't exceed their costs by at 20%, it doesn't pay to open the door.

Waiting lines by 6 P.M. at every place in town huh? Well, I may not live in Batavia Jeff, but I have been through there on more than one Saturday evening and never have I seen any "waiting lines" at any restaurant I've ever passed. And I am talking the locally owned places like Alex's Place, Settlers, Larry's Steakhouse, Sport of Kings.

Course I think that born and bred Batavians would fall over from shock if there were any line at the Sport of Kings.

Raymond Richardson
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Believe it or not Mary, many restaurants are carrying organic produce for their customers, as that seems to be a popular trend. Though a restaurant like you're suggesting may not have a market in Batavia, it wouldn't hurt to call ahead and see who uses organics on their menu.

jeff saquella
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well ray instead of just passing through maybe you should stop and just walk into sport of kings around 6 pm...i guarentee you will have to wait for a table.....and alex's?? you will wait at least 30 minutes

Raymond Richardson
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Actually Jeff, this past August I took my wife to Alex's for dinner on the 22nd. We arrived at 6:10, were seated by 6:12.

No line.

No wait.

jeff saquella
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i think your just an argumentive person ray. and i have no time to argue with you

Ed Hartgrove
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Raymond Richardson
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"i think your just an argumentive person ray. and i have no time to argue with you"

Were we arguing?

I think what is Jeff, more than anything, is your statement that every restaurant in town has waiting line, with a 30 minute wait in each line, was nothing more than an over-exaggeration of what is factual.

Ed Hartgrove
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To be fair, Raymond, Jeff never said "every restaurant in town has waiting line, with a 30 minute wait in each line".

He did say "just about every restaurant in town".

Your 4:59 pm comment appears to be "an over-exaggeration of what" was really said.

Ed Hartgrove
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And, while I'm thinking about it, Raymond.

When someone EMPHATICALLY states that, almost 3 months ago, "We arrived at 6:10, were seated by 6:12", several thoughts come to my mind (of course, that could just be how I think)

1) the statement was either:
(a) constructed to "prove" one's side of a discussion, or
(b) was so emphatically stated because the "rarity" of being seated so quickly (at Alex's) was truly memorable

2) the person who would remember such a minute detail is suffering from Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. Or is that Anal Retentive Disorder? I can never decide which is which.

jeff saquella
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ed you have brought tears to my eyes lol

Brenda Ranney
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Personally I think (yes it's my opinon) Batavians, dine out way too much considering the fact that we don't have a sound local employment environment that isn't related to the service sector.
Instead of a bite to eat I encourage all Batavians to go purchase a pair of P.W. Minor's footwear. Be stylish & help employ a fellow Batavian.

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