Don Arturo: Picada King of Palermo
Article by Rachael Leonie.
Giant wheels of cheese beckon you, bottles of olive oil reel you in, and the smell of herbs upon meat upon fresh baked bread carry you quickly through the door and up to the display of flavor-soaked, herb-infused, hand-picked products. Welcome to Don Arturo.
It’s hard to work and play in Palermo without knowing someone who regularly visits this fiambería as their usual lunch spot. The sandwiches may sound simple –meat and cheese on a baked baguette—but the number of products and combinations of flavors is limitless.
Alejandro, the grandson of the original owner, stands behind the counter at the shop, knowledgeably answering any and all questions regarding the cooking, preparations, and pairings of meats and cheese, and knowingly nodding when I tell him how popular his shop is amongst the expat community.
And proud he should be. Through three generations and seventy years, the name Don Arturo has hung above this fiambería, which first opened in 1939, on a corner in barrio Ciudadela. Don Arturo, Alejandro’s grandfather, had immigrated to the land of parrilla and mate, from one of paella and tapas –Spain. He knew good food, and good food is what he wanted to provide. So he opened his almacen on la esquina Lacroze and as word of mouth spread, the store soon became a staple in the community.
Now, seven decades and three generations later, Alejandro carries on his grandfather’s legacy through a wide selection of fresh cuts of meat and dozens of flavor-packed cheeses. His customers are loyal, yet he never lets his stock run low. The shop’s success remains true to its humble roots and relies on word of mouth as their sole marketing technique: no Facebook, Twitter, or yellow page ad publicizes the shop, and yet it remains popular with the picada-planners and sandwich-mongers of the city. It’s the perfect spot to pick up cheese for a picada (think tomatito-dotted mozzarellas, peppered parmesans, and chive-infused cheeses), or meats to spice up your everyday sub (like the Iberico-style chorizo, pistachio-laced mortadela, and herbed lomo). But if you’re in the neighborhood during lunchtime, or even merienda, don’t be shy to take your time choosing your meat and cheese sandwich combo from their extensive supply of options (and if you’re really stumped, ask Alejandro for his recommendations). Savor your time choosing just as you’ll savor that sandwich.
After all, it’s what Don Arturo would want you to do.
- Don Arturo
- Charcas 3798 (Esquina Araoz)