Claudia Gutierrez was nervous when she decided to expand her popular East St. Paul burger joint—Hamburguesas el Gordo—into Minneapolis. She worried the new operation might siphon business away from its older-but-smaller sibling, thought folks might stop making the trek to Plaza Del Sol in Payne-Phalen and get their Mexican-style burger fix in South.
Instead, either through word of mouth or increased name recognition, the opposite happened. Business in St. Paul was booming.
Which is why she was so surprised to learn in May that their landlord wouldn't be renewing the lease. “She pretty much didn’t want to renew our contract, and we didn’t know why," Gutierrez says. "I didn’t really know what happened there.”
Undeterred, Gutierrez started looking for a new St. Paul home for Hamburguesas right away. And just before 2018 came to a close, she found one.
The massive Del Gordo Burgers you love won't be back in East St. Paul, but they won't be far. The new address is 1731 S. Robert St. in West St. Paul, the former home of Rack Shack BBQ (which recently made the move to Eagan).
By car, that puts it maybe 15 minutes at most from the original Hamburguesas el Gordo. “And the area that this is going to be in is a very commercial area,” Gutierrez notes. It's right next to a Leeann Chin, a stone's throw from Raising Cane’s and the 5-8 Grill and Tap.
Another unexpected silver lining is that this is a bigger location with a roomier kitchen, meaning their once-limited menu will be limited no more. The expanded offerings at HEG in Minneapolis—heaping piles of Asada Fries and all—will now be available at both restaurants.
Gutierrez plans to leave the dining area pretty much as is, so remodel-wise, they're sticking to the kitchen. (Rack Shack took their appliances with 'em.) No opening date is officially set, but she's shooting to say hello to the new neighborhood by late January or early February—no later than the end of February, ideally.
"It’s going to be a lot of work, but people have been waiting for us," she says. “We are so happy, too. We can’t wait. I think it’s going to be a good addition to all the good food on Robert Street."