Omar D’Angelo’s first experience as an entrepreneur came in the form of door-to-door sales in Argentina, where his family would sell baked goods to their community—a business that his father started as a 13-year-old. As the Argentine economy began to show signs of decline and as political turmoil became more and more prevalent, the D’Angelos decided it best to avoid the situation entirely. They escaped what is known as the 1998-2002 Argentine Great Depression and relocated to the United States in 2000.
With Columbus, Ohio as their new home, D’Angelo and his family decided to pick up right where they left off. For the next 12 years, the home-baking business grew exceedingly well in the Columbus market. During this time, D’Angelo was also working a full-time job to put himself through Franklin University.
By 2012, D’Angelo and his family soon realized that they had a great product and decided to expand into the savory side of the food world, focusing on dishes such as paella and empanadas. That year, D’Angelo and his new food venture, now called Barroluco, attended the Columbus Latino Festival.
On paper, the festival was not a profitable undertaking. D’Angelo admits, “We broke even that day…we had to buy a lot of equipment to be able to cook for that many people, but we sold a lot of food.”
He realized that his cuisine had made a true impact on the festival attendees. With that momentum, Barroluco then attended the Columbus Food Truck Festival in 2014. Interestingly, D’Angelo did not even have a food truck at the time. Barroluco operated out of a pop-up tent on that occasion, but it was more than enough of a presence to further the excitement budding around the business.
During Barroluco’s pre-food truck years, D’Angelo, with the support of his family, advocated for himself and for his own business. He utilized nearly every small business development service in the city, which led him to Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) in 2016.
In March of that year, D’Angelo closed on his first loan with ECDI, giving him the capital to purchase and customize a Barroluco food truck. Subsequently, in 2017 the business won Best Food Truck in Columbus, as well as in Whitehall and Westerville in both 2017 and 2018.
Through all the years of hard work and dedication to the Barroluco venture, D’Angelo worked a full-time job, a feat that truly highlights his character and the dedication to his dream.
“I did it because I had to,” D’Angelo casually reveals.
Though he credits his family for handling a good portion of the day-to-day Barroluco operations, D’Angelo would often still be clocking over 70 hours a week between his full-time job, the food truck and the bakery.
From door-to-door sales in Argentina to owning and operating a food truck business and bakery in Columbus, D’Angelo has learned that it takes a constant, innovative push to keep the ball rolling on his entrepreneurial journey.
The next phase of the business came on November 19, as D’Angelo proudly opened the doors to Barroluco’s first brick and mortar location in Downtown Columbus in the space that El Arepazo, another Latin-inspired restaurant, used to inhabit.
In the new location, which has traditionally been a lunch spot for people that work Downtown, Barroluco will expand their menu, likely with soups, salads and flan, to accommodate the lunch crowd, while keeping all the items that have been offered on the food truck. By December, D’Angelo is also looking to expand on the hours of operation to include Saturday brunches—historically, the former business El Arepazo only kept weekday lunch hours.
Check out the new Downtown Barroluco location at 47 N. Pearl St. Current hours of operation are Monday – Friday; 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
For more information, visit Barroluco online.
Since 2004, ECDI has assisted Ohio’s entrepreneurs through its one-stop shop business services model, suited to meet the needs of all entrepreneurs, regardless of what business stage they’re in. From providing capital to entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, to providing focused, business-specific educational opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial skill sets, ECDI works with their clients to meet their unique needs. Whether assisting a new client with a business concept or an accomplished entrepreneur opening a fifth location, ECDI’s “never say no” approach has allowed over twelve thousand entrepreneurs to take advantage of the services it provides. Visit ecdi.org today to learn more.