This is the story of a local restaurant in Westchester New York. It used to be called 808 Social and has recently rebranded as El Barrio! 

808 Social was an Italian restaurant in Scarsdale that (as stated on their website) "served as an industrial-rustic option offering a menu that mixes classic & inventive Italian fare" since opening its doors in 2016.

A friend of mine from Fordham, Anthony Mondrone, was kind enough to introduce me to 808 Social about 2 years ago. Anthony has been working at 808 Social as a server since its opening in 2016 and states:

"808 Social, being such a small place that can seat up to 50 comfortably, always had an intimate atmosphere niche to it. I expect El Barrio to be the same atmosphere. I’m excited because there’s no other Mexican restaurant in town with such a friendly and vibrant atmosphere. You’d have to go down to city for that. I also take pride in getting to anticipate my guests’ wants before they know."

Cat O'Connor

If you never had the chance to visit, I'm sorry to have to tell you that you no longer can. However, there is good news.

808 Social has recently rebranded as El Barrio, a Mexican restaurant featuring street corn, jalapeño rellenos, and their signature open face brick oven quesadillas!

Owner and Head Chef Salvatore Cucullo insists that nowhere else in Westchester offers this unique and aesthetically pleasing twist to a traditional quesadilla! 

Featured below is their chicken tinga open face brick oven quesadilla. Are you drooling yet? Because I know I am! 

Now, you may be wondering why a restaurant would choose to switch from Italian to Mexican. 

808 Social was extremely successful serving Italian cuisine, but partners Frank Valenti, Mike Mondrone and Salvatore Cucullo  saw that there was a want and a need in Westchester for more Mexican cuisine. This change was not an abrupt one, as they discussed and planned it over the past year.

As Cucullo put it, they also knew that they wanted to do more than just tacos and provide Westchester with another unique restaurant with a different feel and ambiance.

El Barrio's menu does feature traditional Mexican cuisine, like chips and salsa and various tacos. However, in addition to the open face brick oven quesadillas, El Barrio's menu also features a few key items that make it like no other, including the grilled whole octopus and the El Barrio burger -- yum!  

Mondrone says "I liked to describe the food at 808 Social as Italian without borders. Now you can expect it to be Mexican food without borders!

Now, if none of that has sold you to visit, you should know that as 808 Social, they often did Comedy Nights the last Wednesday of every month and other themed events!

808 Social was and El Barrio now is great location for people of all ages and interests according to Anthony Mondrone. They have families in the early evening and a young adult crowd for their DJ nights! Cucullo plans on continuing with the Comedy Nights and states that they even plan on occasional brunches and (my personal favorite) Salsa lessons!

El Barrio, like most small businesses and local establishments, is struggling with only having delivery and takeout.  They've had to postpone their official reopening because of everything going on right now, but the minute they get the green light, they'll be open for business! 

El Barrio was able to open on Cinco de Mayo and was overwhelmed by the love and support they received! They hope to open again on Monday May 11th for takeout and delivery and will see how things go from there.

If you're able to, please support them and show them some love!