The Flip Flop Sandwich Shop
What do almost all backpackers have in common ? Other than backpacks and no money, the one thing most have is a pair of flip flops.
Arriving here a little more than 3 years ago, it didn’t take long to discover that although El Poblado is not the city center, it is the most sought after location in Medellin. Everything, at least for many expats, focuses around Parque Lleras (the double ”L” in this part of Colombia sounds like ”J” – Jeras). In and around the Park I found just about everything one might need. There are hotels, lots of hostels (great for the flip flop crowd), excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs, apartments for rent or purchase, 3 world class shopping malls, banking centers, and easy access to public transportation.
Three years later, I now live here and own a small restaurant. I wanted Flip Flop in the name somehow. I had a about 6 names set but someone at the hostel where I was staying said “how about The Flip Flop Sandwich Shop?” That was it!!! Two months later we opened and the rest is history.
Business in Parque Lleras is growing. We now have restaurants that offer more than just the usual rice, beans, and an overgrilled piece of meat. There are establishments like Carmen (gourmet), Mu (ribs), Toscanos (Italian), Patrick’s Irish Pub (sports bar), The Flip Flop Sandwich Shop (North American food and for the Australian expats we even have Vegemite !!) and El Cielo that offers a 2 hour dining experience. A few of the locations also have live music on the weekends as well.
Poblado also has great boutique shopping in Via Primavera, just one street East of Parque Lleras. Here you will find not only stylish boutiques but great little coffee shops where you sit outside and enjoy the fantastic weather we have in Medellin. This entire area is very sociable. While sipping your favorite Colombian coffee, you can meet lots of people that are more than happy to talk to you and tell you all about Medellin. From Wednesday evening on, the Park is full of folks looking to have a good time. Some have dinner, some go to bars, and some just sit in the middle of the park and chat with friends.
From a business perspective in Medellin, El Poblado is the place to be. We are starting to see an influx of foreigners coming to check out the city. Homes are selling, and more businesses are opening. Even some of the American chains are starting to expand into Colombia. Investors are recognizing the potential that this area has. On my block alone, there are 2 that have taken homes and turned them into short and long term rentals. There are opportunities all over the city. Medellin in my opinion is starting to boom. So are we !
We have been open a little more than 6 months. For the first few months the restaurant was the right size. I could not get too busy because we did not have many tables. About 2 months ago, I knew I needed to move. I needed a bigger kitchen and I needed a new location. I was all set to move into the building next door when the hostel across the street came in and made me a deal that I could not refuse. I am going to be almost doubling my size for only a very small increase in rent. I will expand my seating by 8 or 9 tables and my kitchen will be larger. We will have access to a liquor license so that we can start serving a few drinks and we will broaden our menu to have chicken wings, hamburgers, a vegetarian burger, and maybe tacos. If all goes well, we will double or triple our daily sales. Not to mention we will also have a little table dedicated to tourists with free travel information.
Thinking about coming to Medellin, Colombia? Come on down and check us out!!
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