Recyclable material? In a restaurant? Maybe it's a crazy idea but it's really eye catching. When I entered Collage Charladero, I was seduced by the colorful design. By the originality of its lighting from old bulbs. Its ceiling looked like puzzle pieces and the wooden stools seemed to have spent their last minutes of life in a lost corner of the city. Empty wine bottles would have gone to the trash. Some tables were transformed from being "old" to looking new and hip with handmade surfaces designed with sheets taken from archived papers. The floor was covered with old tiles from antique houses. These and many other details captured my attention as soon as I opened the doors of the restaurant.
There was an interesting man with a “look of forty", as we commonly say to refer to those around 40 years old, with a very educated little boy who is inheriting the same kind and helpful profile of his dad. Very willing to welcome all people, Mauricio Bedoya, owner and administrator of the restaurants Palo Santo and Collage Charladero, beckoned me inside.
I interviewed this wonderful character to better understand the essence and idea behind this his restaurant.
Susy: Who is Mauricio Bedoya?
Mauricio: I am a 45-year-old from Antioquia, a business administrator and father of 2 children, who arrived in Cartagena 20 years ago chasing the skirts of a woman, who then ended up kicking me out. I consider myself a persevering, powerful man and I always see the good and positive side to life.
Susy: What comes to mind when you hear the word Collage?
Susy: What does the word "Collage" mean in your restaurant?
Mauricio: A mixture of cultures, flavors, something cosmopolitan.
Susy: What are the recyclables you have in the restaurant?
Mauricio: In the restaurant, for example, we serve the juices in recycled bottles of Tea Hatsu. Our tables are made with sheets taken from old newspapers and magazines and then coated in a resin. The ceiling is decorated with hundreds of recycled bottles of wine. The floors were tiles of old houses that were thrown in the street. The lighting was made with old bulbs that we are reusing. Much of the atmosphere of the restaurant was made with articles and objects that were not in service and were in what we call the "room of San Alejo". The garbage.
Susy: What inspired you at when you were creating the menu?
Mauricio: Bueno Susy, the menu was inspired by the Chef "Federico Vega", owner of one of the most traditional restaurants in the city called "El Santísimo". I always wanted a restaurant that was a "charladero" - small, easy to eat, so that people who visit the restaurant can chat and share a good snack with a refreshing drink. For example: Colombian empanaditas, various fritters, chicharrones and our juices that are the fusion between a good products and a creative idea, as for example the one that you are taking that is a pinapple juice, peppermint and lemon.
Susy: What is the range of prices on the menu?
Mauricio: Between $ 5,000 for a coke and up to $ 40,000 for the most expensive dish of the menu, which is rice titoté with seafood.
Susy: What is the most popular menu item?
Mauricio: Definitely the cartagenera sandwiches and the ramen burgers. These dishes are delicious and are sold almost like hot cakes.
Susy: Who is your main client?
Mauritius: The informal and local young tourist. I have to say that in cruise season, the passengers are my most dependable customers.
Susy: What does Collage have that has no other restaurants in the city offer?
Mauricio: to me (with funny laugh), it is deception. The truth is, we are a restaurant that physically has more than 70% recyclable materials, our concept is that you don’t come to eat alone but to visit the restaurant with friends and to chat, update your views and have a nice time. Susy, we are also the only ones to not use tablecloths but we have a "talker with chalk" - a signboard where people at the table can write messages, erase them and take photos and publish them on their networks.
Susy: Do you have any invitation message to share with those who have not yet come to Collage Charladero?
Mauricio: Of course, I'm going to give you the big message that you find in the sign in the entry "ALL IS BETTER WHEN SHARED"
So I ended the meeting with Mauricio after a couple of photos with his son and a last tour of the halls of this original concept restaurant. Collage Charladero and Mauricio are waiting for you and will be so happy to give you the usual, warm welcome.
Special thanks to Mauricio Bedoya, his son Geronimo, who had to wait for the interview to end.