If you seek urban dining at its most urban, you’ll find it downtown at Super Rico Colombian Bistro. The restaurant is attached to a parking garage on the corner of Orange Avenue and Central Boulevard, sitting adjacent to the train tracks and directly across the street from Orlando Fire Station 1. Take a seat at one of the outdoor tables and you’ll hear the constant whiz of traffic on I-4.
Despite the name, Super Rico isn’t a “bistro,” per se; it’s a space-challenged fast-food joint serving Colombian street fare to, among others, famished late-night revelers. There are a few high-tops inside, but a good portion of the space is devoted to the kitchen and prep area. There are some high-tops outside as well, but we made the mistake of occupying one of the benches instead. We were duly told that we had to order beer from the Tap & Grind next door in order to sit at any of the benches. Needing the extra space for all the food we ordered, not to mention the fact that it was about a thousand bloody degrees outside, we didn’t need our arms twisted to walk into T&G to purchase a few cooling quaffs.
So we got our glasses, sat outside in the sultry heat, and chatted with Super Rico’s delightful server. She told us the most popular “drunk food” items were the Original burger ($6) and the Super Rico burger ($7.50). We were anything but inebriated, so maybe it was fitting we ordered the arepa burger ($7.50). The most notable aspect of the sandwich was the use of yellow corn cakes instead of buns, which offered a little sweetness to this otherwise satisfactory burger. Those same yellow arepas in triangle form made superb scooping instruments for the chunky guacamole ($5) – not just because of their sturdy composition, but that salty-sweet griddled essence as well.
Hot dogs, or perros, are a popular street food item from Medellín to Cartagena, and the spicy perro ($5) we sampled here is one we’d gladly taste again. Shoestring potatoes, queso blanco, crumbled bacon and a jalapeño relish crowned this Nathan’s all-beef frank in regal fashion.
Vegetarian patacones ($5) are like Colombian pizzas – green plantains are pressed, fried, then topped with assorted grilled vegetables, queso blanco and hogao – a tomato-based sauce. This alcohol sponge of a dish would do wonders in tempering the booziest of constitutions.
Of course, no talk of late-night noshing would be complete without a reference to meat on a stick. Their chicken pinchos ($7.50), served with a side of yuca fries, are well worth consideration. A dip in aji criollo – a bright green salsa – makes delicate beef and cheese empanadas (three for $4) even better. And a few cinnamon-sugar-rolled guava-and-cheese empanaditas makes for a nice sweet meal-capper.
Super Rico’s owners once ran the Que Rico food truck, a downtown fixture since 2011. The inspiration for the menu came from La Moon – a fave late-night haunt on Calle Ocho in Miami that reminded them of the street fare and experience they enjoyed in Colombia. They wanted something similar for Orlando: a place for folks to enjoy good Colombian food, music, culture and camaraderie. Consider that goal achieved.