“This restaurant is bright, colorful, and clean, just like the houses in El Salvador,” Benjamin Sol says about El Salvadoreno, the Downtown Overland Park restaurant he owns with his wife, Blanca. The couple opened the restaurant in October 2011, and it has become a gathering place for natives of not only El Salvador, but other Central American countries as well. “Eating here either kills or increases their homesickness,” Benjamin says with a laugh about his Central American customers. The menu features Salvadoran favorites such as pupusas and panes rellenos.
Benjamin and Blanca met when they both worked at a casino in Kansas City. Benjamin is a native of Parkville, Missouri and Blanca moved to the United States from El Salvador in 2003. Opening a restaurant that features cuisine from her native country was a lifelong dream for Blanca.
The couple is thrilled their restaurant is located in thriving Downtown Overland Park. Benjamin notes that his grandfather lived nearby, and he has seen the area change dramatically over the years. The Overland Park Farmer’s Market and a resurgence in shops and restaurants has made Downtown Overland Park a popular destination once again.
Next time you’re in the area, make sure to stop by El Salvadoreno for a good meal and some warm hospitality. You’ll be glad you did.
– Matt Gilligan, Johnson County Museum