A recently opened, late-night eatery on the Lower East Side, Los Perros Locos is redefining our expectations of hot dogs and hamburgers. Customers who venture to this two-week-old restaurant can sample a variety of Colombian street food-themed items, from the El Niño Loco hot dog ($4.50), topped with Kraft macaroni and cheese and crushed Fritos, to the El Perro Perdido ($8), which is served in a deep-fried French Toast bun.
Even though it was inspired by Colombian street cuisine, the food at Los Perros Locos is anything but traditional. The owner, Alex Mitow, designed each combination on the menu. Customers can try Salchipapas, a standard Latin American fast food dish (starting at $3.50). But while Salchipapas include little more than French fries, sausage and maybe some sauce or cheese, Mitow’s versions offer additions, such as a soft-boiled quail egg and his own ChipZana sauce, which is a blend of chipotle and apples.
The restaurant’s “hamburguesas” are juicy, short-rib blend burgers grilled to order. Particularly scrumptious is the ÑYC Burger ($7.50), which comes topped with melted mozzarella, crushed chips and a variety of salsas. The El Puerco ($8.50) is served with bacon, ham, cheese and ChipZana sauce. Don’t miss the cheap snack options, such as the Mazzzzzorca, or grilled corn ($4).
Mitow’s unique food creations reflect his own clever personality. An ambitious entrepreneur in spirit, he has plenty of experience in the restaurant business, having operated a seafood restaurant in Florida before managing a barbecue joint on the Upper East Side. As he is of Bulgar.ian descent, it may seem odd that he focuses on Colombian street food.
“It just made sense,” he said. “What people want is grab-and-go food under $10 but still want something that is interesting.”
Mitow cited the recent explosion of food trends, such as dumplings and crepes, as his inspiration.
Mitow is proud of the work put into the Lower East Side location. Although the restaurant opened later than expected because the effects of Hurricane Sandy delayed permit approvals, it is an excellent upgrade from the run-down Asian bakery that previously occupied the space. The restaurant is bright, clean, cheerful and houses bar-styled seating and a mirrored wall.
Los Perros Locos offers an interesting look at a specific culture’s most accessible foods. Latin American-inspired music plays as customers eat and sip on soda colombiana and Mexican Coke.
“People want to be transported to another culture quickly and cheaply,” Mitow said. “We want to sell the experience as much as the food.”
Los Perros Locos is located at 201 Allen St. The restaurant is open until 2:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 13 print edition. Margaret Weinberg is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.