In the Prahan neighborhood of Melbourne, Australia a pop-up burger shop has opened its doors from inside Promise Bar on High Street. Most pop-up restaurants don’t get nearly as much attention within their first week, but most also are not named after Pablo Escobar.
Pablo’s Escoburgers opened its doors earlier this year, four days after which they posted the following notice:
“We are very proud of our burgers but we do also understand that Pablo Escobar was a horrible man who destroyed the lives of thousands of Colombians. We do not condone, idolise or promote Pablo Emilio Escobar or his actions in anyway.”
Why such a shocking slogan? The pop-up burger joint has caused a stir because of its gimmicky “Patron Burger,” a dish served with a long line of white powder down the top of the burger bun and a fake $100 bill rolled up next to it.
The restaurant currently offers five burgers — including the “Sicario Burger” (alluding to Mexican drug cartels, served with a steak knife) and the vegetarian “Mijo Burger” (“mijo” being Spanish slang common in Mexico used as a term of endearment) — as well as a few hot dogs, one of which is named the “Gringo Hot Dog” and is accompanied by an American flag.
It is not too hard to understand why the restaurant has already seen loads of media interest, but one does wonder why the organizers of Pablo’s Escoburgers have such an affinity with Latin America, illegal drug trade, and the Spanish language.
Narcos, the Netflix series which premiered in 2015 and chronicled Escobar’s career from the ’70s until his end in a shootout with police in 1993 caused a recent surge in popularity about the history of the world-famous drug lord.
However, in a radio interview on 3AW’s Drive with Tom Elliot, owner Vaughn Marks explained that coming up with the restaurant’s name was just a “spur of the moment thing.” He goes on to explain it as a “bit of a joke” to “cause a little bit of a stir.”
Marks explains that “cocaine in Australia is a bit of a joke,” citing high prices, though the radio interviewer did not seem very amused. Suffice to say that the burger joint has received very mixed reviews, which Pablo’s Escoburgers itself acknowledges, saying, “a lot [of people] give us terrible reviews and upset comments on FB.”
There is not yet a Tripadvisor nor Yelp page for the restaurant, but its Facebook page has almost 100 reviews already, many of which are not from experienced patrons but disgruntled observers from across the globe, reacting to the pop-up in both English and Spanish. Within its first two weeks, Pablo’s Escoburgers has already accrued over 2,000 likes on Facebook.
The burger joint makes witty references in their posts, apologizing for potential wait time by hoping that “the LINES not too long” and advising to “Take the high road people, put it to rest and learn to forgive and forget!”
So now locals and travelers alike can get a pablo escoburger along with a Coke. Get it? Coke. Next thing we need is a pablo escoBEARger.
Open seven days a week from noon to 10 pm, anyone who finds themselves in the Melbourne area between the High St./Chapel St. and Hornby St./High St. tramway stops can go and try one and see if the product matches the hype. We hope it does for everyone’s sake.