Peruvian restaurant overcomes the pandemic shutdown The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Peruvian restaurant overcomes the pandemic shutdown

Peruvian restaurant overcomes the pandemic shutdown
Business
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TRIBUNE NEW STAFF

Douglas Sanguino and his wife Clara took the big step of starting their own restaurant last January.

They opened A Taste of Peru in the strip mall on the southwest corner of Guadalupe and Alma School roads in Mesa in January, less than a year after moving here from New York City where he had been involved in a Mexican restaurant for two years.

The timing seemed great, Sanguino said, especially since he didn’t see much competition when it came to genuine Peruvian cuisine.

“I wanted to show people how delicious and flavorful it is,” he said, explaining different regions of the country are known for different cuisine and he didn’t see anything in the East Valley with the kind he wanted to serve.

Like most new businesses, start-up was challenging but moving along – until mid-March when the pandemic prompted the governor to close in-house dining.

“I decided to shut down the restaurant,” he explained.

“I didn’t want to expose anybody in the restaurant so we decided to shut down,” he recalled. “We kept reading the news and watching how people were reacting to the crisis and decided not to go back to work. We were a new restaurant so we didn’t have the demand for takeout anyway.”

Now that a Taste of Peru has reopened, the Sanguinos are hopeful that people will venture out to taste what he describes as a full Peruvian experience where food is concerned, though they also are now offering takeout and delivery.

Their menu reflects both Asian, Mexican and Spanish influences, such as four Peruvian fried rice combos a number of dishes laced with noodles, a variety of stir-fried items and a special paella with a Peruvian twist.

There also are native dishes like the salchipapas appetizer, thinly sliced golden crisp sausage and French fries sprinkled with ketchup, mustard and mayo; the Peruvian rotisserie chicken that marinates for at least 12 hours in a secret sauce; and lomo saltado, a popular Peruvian specialty combining beef sirloin marinated in soy sauce and other spices and sautéed with red onions, cilantro and tomatoes.

Seafood holds a special place in the kitchen – so much so that some reviews on Yelp call A Taste of Peru the best seafood restaurant in the region, citing a seafood tower, several variations of ceviche and even a whole fish served head and all.

Both husband and wife work in the restaurant and Douglas at times said he helps out in the kitchen when things get busy, though he prefers to work the room with his wife to create a friendly and inviting atmosphere for guests.

And they are committed to keeping their guests safe as the pandemic wears on. All employees wear masks, social distancing among tables is maintained and frequent sanitizing is the order of the day.

Taste of Peru also offers a wide selection of beers and other alcoholic beverages, including pisco, a traditional Peruvian brandy made from muscat grapes, and an oyster shooter, a shot of tequila with an oyster at the bottom.

Sanguino also brags about his restaurant’s low prices, hoping that they will help lure customers as the post-shutdown period has been a little slow.

Taste of Peru is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, They are on Facebook and can aWlso be viewed at mytasteofperu.com. ′

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