Kiosko Roca: from Patagonia to Valparaíso

E-mail Print
By Zoe Baillargeon
Editors Note: The following is from Issue 14.
The bite-sized sandwiches of the longtime classic Kiosko Roca restaurant in Punta Arenas have expanded nationwide.  In January, Kiosko Roca opened its doors in the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, and were soon followed up with new branches in Santiago and Concepcion.
This Chilean fast food diner, which had become legendary in the Magallanes capital for its choripan sandwiches and banana milk, in 2012 earned national recognition winning the “Best Picada in Chile” award (picada is Chilean slang for a restaurant that is cheap, but good) from the country’s Consejo Nacional de la Cultura (National Arts Council).
Andrea Vergara, a co-owner of the Valparaiso branch, said that the decision to expand to the city was due in part to the high percentage of former Magallanes residents who now live and work there. “The porteño [resident of Valparaiso] is a lot like the Magallánico,” she says. “Each have their own identity but at the same time, they are all warm, kind people who are open to experiencing new and diverse things.”
The new locations of Kiosko Roca, which first opened in Punta Arenas in 1932, has the exact same menu as the Magallanic original: a simple menu featuring a plain choripan (chorizo sausage, mayonnaise and bread) sandwich or a choriqueso sandwich (choripan plus cheese), banana milk; and soft drinks. But that’s the point. What they do, they do well.
“We use the same recipes for everything. The same system for making the milk, the flour for the bread, everything,” says Vergara.
The tasty sandwiches are on a light fluffy bun, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, and cut in half, smeared with a dollop of savory chorizo sausage. The result is a gone-in-two-bites morsel of good, authentic Chilean traditional fare and for budget-friendly prices of between $500 to $800 Chilean pesos (approx. one dollar).
Located a few short steps from Plaza Sotomayor, the Kiosko Roca Valparaíso pays homage to the original restaurant. The blue and yellow flag of the Magallanes region flutters over the street outside, while the décor inside the restaurant is dominated with memorabilia and photos from the original restaurant and Punta Arenas. Mini-flags, key chains, and mate gourds, for example, are proudly displayed behind the counter and the wooden counters are topped with glass display cases filled with seashells, postcards, photos, and notes from customers.
So far, Vergara says the response to the restaurant has been incredible. “I hope that Kiosko Roca becomes a real part of Valparaiso, and that people see it as their own, a place for locals, for tourists, for students, for everyone. Here, we’re all equal. Everyone gets the milk mustache, everyone is the same, rich or poor.”
How to go:
Address: Blanco 638, 3, Valparaíso
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Saturday 10:30-3:00 pm, closed Sunday