DOWNEY – On Thursday, June 30, guests welcomed the grand opening of Gaucho Grill Argentine Steakhouse at The Promenade.
Already established as a group of traditional style restaurants in Southern California, the newest location is owned and operated by Downey locals Kirk Cartozian and Adrian Amosa, who said they are are out to redefine contemporary Argentine cuisine - from the food to the experience.
Cartozian, a well-known Downeyite who previously served as mayor of Downey, a Downey High School teacher and, most recently, a commercial real estate broker, has longed for the opportunity to open his own concept-driven steakhouse.
“It’s been a challenging few months, but exciting nonetheless,” said Cartozian. “It’s one thing to open a restaurant, but to do it with people you care about in the city you love is unreal to me.”
Cartozian and Amosa met in late 2014 at Stay Gallery. Cartozian is president of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit group, and Amosa was brought to Stay Gallery by city officials who wanted him to get a sense of the exciting things happening in town.
The conversation moved quickly over the next several months and, soon enough, the two had locked a lease at the Downey Promenade for Gaucho Grill to claim the throne of the “first true steakhouse in Downey.”
Amosa is not new to the restaurant world. He owns six other restaurants, which comprises several other Gaucho Grill locations, including Brentwood, Long Beach and beyond.
“Opening the Downey location has been the most exciting for me because we’ve revolutionized what we previously did,” he said. “We have a strong team and staff that truly care about the product we deliver.”
The kitchen is being spearheaded by executive chef Konstantine “Dino” Marougas, a Warren High alumnus.
Chef Dino said he jumped at the opportunity to bring his culinary experiences to his hometown.
Coincidentally, Cartozian had known Chef Dino since 2000, always frequenting his previous restaurant locales. The meeting between the three Gauchos secured this team.
The dramatic change in the menu, compared to other Gaucho Grill locations, is no mishap either.
“The opportunity to set the standard for a steakhouse in Downey has been a thrilling experience,” says Marougas. “We created a menu that introduces Argentine cuisine in a truly contemporary manner.”
Downey branding agency Stay Studio, a sister company of Stay Gallery, was behind the task of delivering the visual aspect of the updated Gaucho Grill brand. From the interior design, menus, staff outfits, website and social media, the creative team is responsible for every ounce of it.
In-house designer and illustrator Matthew “Nacho” Ward led the effort in creating the restaurant’s bull mural, a first of its kind in a Downey establishment.
“I never thought I would have such an amazing opportunity to share my passion for art with my community on this scale, and I look forward to many more,” said Ward.
Gaucho Grill is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.