August 11, 2012 By Bill Parry
A Colombian restaurant opened this week on the northern edge of Sunnyside Gardens in the location that many residents once feared would become a strip club.
Emilio Rubio and Lyda Barona, a husband and wife duo, are the owners of Baru Restaurant, which offers typical Colombian fare– from pork, seafood and chicken dishes. The restaurant is located at 47-15 Barnett Avenue, the site of a former warehouse.
Rubio was caught up in a firestorm of controversy years ago when residents thought he was going to open a strip joint at the warehouse location. At the time, Rubio said, he called the restaurant “Punto G”, which translated into the G-Spot. According to reports, he said it was just an error, since Punto G was a replacement for his first choice “Golden Point’ which was taken by another business.
Several years later, the couple is now opening a restaurant.
“It took us many years of work to get to this point,” Barona said. “My husband worked here when it was a shop [warehouse]. The bar at the entrance used to be a loading dock.”
The restaurant has a lounge area in the front and a dining section toward the rear. The interior is brick and iron, and it has tile floors. The walls are adorned with Colombian art.
“We are open seven days a week from 11:30am to 8:30 pm serving lunch and dinner. Once we get our liquor license we’ll stay open later,” Barona said. Customers will not be allowed to bring wine and beer to the restaurant in the meantime. “We don’t want any misunderstandings with the Community Board.”
The restaurant has a dual-language menu, which features a $4.95 lunch special and a children’s menu. It also offers delivery service. A chef, delivery man and three waitresses have already been hired.
“We will be looking to hire additional staff once business picks up,” Barona said.