The Metro: Argentine-inspired PUMA to hold soft opening during Movement

Located in Core City, PUMA is the second local restaurant launched by Chef Javier Bardauil, whose first restaurant, Barda, was a James Beard Awards finalist.

close-up of a man wearing glasses, whose face glows orange from a nearby wood-fired oven

Chef Javier Bardauil stands near a wood-fired oven.

Music fans attending Movement this weekend who are looking for a bite to eat are in for a treat as the new Argentinian restaurant PUMA Detroit plans to open its doors for a soft opening on Friday.

PUMA — located in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood — is the second local restaurant launched by Chef Javier Bardauil, whose first restaurant, Barda, was a James Beard Awards finalist for Best New Restaurant in America in 2022.

The man behind the menu, Bardauil, joined The Metro on Thursday to share more about the new restaurant, its inspiration and what patrons should expect this weekend.

Bardauil said he intentionally planned PUMA’s soft opening to coincide with Movement.

“One of the things that brings entertainment, in my point of view, is music, one of the pillars for me. PUMA will be very, very musical oriented,” he said. “We’re going to have DJ programs live every weekend. And that’s why I thought if I’m not open for Movement, when? I mean it was the right timing for me to show what PUMA has to bring to the city.”

Bardauil says entertainment planned for this weekend include music sets from Roni Amitai, Scott Grooves, Sheefy McFly and Julio De’Angelo. Alongside its music offerings, PUMA will house Argentinian inspired dishes cooked over fire to bring “another layer of flavor other than the passion you can show through the dish,” Bardauil said.

This cooking style is similar to Bardauil’s restaurant Barda, however, the two restaurants will host very different atmospheres, he said.

“PUMA is more street food, more chaotic, more vibrant in that sense with live music. More noisy, probably more younger crowd oriented.”

PUMA will open its doors at 5 p.m. from Friday until Sunday. The restaurant will close at 10 p.m., but the bar will remain open until 2 a.m. Customers can enjoy the DJ sets the entire evening.

Use the media player above to hear the full interview with Bardauil.

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