Austin chef Julio-Cesar Florez turned his Peruvian food company Birú Cocina Peruana in a full service restaurant in a shared kitchen space. The company now operates out of the Wingman Kitchens Commissary’s Kitchen Center in Springdale General at 1023 Springdale Road, Building 1 in the East MLK neighborhood. for on-site and take-out catering services from June.
For Florez, Birú “is an umbrella of different Peruvian restaurant themes and ideas to promote Peruvian cuisine and culture in this city through my cuisine”. Thus, the menu focuses on traditional Peruvian cuisine. Dishes include lomo saltado (beef stir-fry with tomatoes, fried potatoes and rice), aji de gallina (chicken in a creamy sauce served with rice, potatoes, olives and eggs) and a variety of cebiches. With this new space, it will expand with more seafood and non-traditional dishes.
After Florez was discharged from South Congress Japanese restaurant Lucky Robot at the start of the pandemic, he decided to cook and sell Peruvian food from his Pflugerville home (as many chefs and bakers did during the first half of the pandemic). “I was like, ‘I can either go back to Lucky Robot and go make some food for someone else,’ he says, ‘or I can take this opportunity and start a business that has always been there. my horizon. I chose the latter. His daughters Gabriella and Angie are also helping a lot.
Birú’s opening to Wingman appealed to him as it gave him the ability to move the operation outside of his home and access the equipment. “It’s a bit like running a food truck,” says Florez of her decision to move her operation to Wingman, “but with all the amenities of a real kitchen.” He eventually wants to open his own physical restaurant.
Florez still offers private dinners and sells packaged seasoning salts and cancha (a corn snack) / chicharron mixes through her website.
Birú is open for on-site and take-out catering from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The Wingman space at Springdale General includes indoor and outdoor seating. Florez is looking to add a fixed price menu on Saturdays and offer delivery service on later dates.
Recently, the Buda Tejas Birria truck opened a summer pop-up within Wingman in June. The co-owners are using the pop-up as a way to test the Austin market for potential permanent expansion.