Story by Jenny Paulson You can buy sandwiches at shop’s all over Pueblo, as they are a popular satisfying lunch item. But what you won’t find anywhere else in town is authentic, traditional Spanish “Bocatas,” a Spanish slang word for “sandwiches,” a signature at Pueblo’s up-and-coming downtown destination restaurant called the Bistoro, that locals are buzzing about. They can be served in a variety of ways, including as a Bocadilla, as explained in this feature story.
The Bistoro, where you can enjoy novel, healthy Spanish-style and Mediterranean foods and sharable plates in a friendly, relaxed village-style atmosphere, is owned by Pueblo native Joette Ucar Dhamo and her husband Pellumb Dhamo, a native of Albania.
The couple met eleven years ago in Europe and after their world travels, they moved from Europe to Joette’s home town to raise their two young children and open their dream European-style restaurant at 109 Central Plaza, where they together created menu items based on their cultural influence and travels.
The Dhamo’s Bocatas are a staple item on their menu, which includes a diverse mix of European bistro-style food items, including tapas, custom dinners and shared plates. Bocatas, like all of their menu items, are made with the freshest, highest quality ingredients they can find.
Joetta calls the Bistoro’s Bocatas a “bucket-list escapes,” and says that each style of Bocata served at their restaurant “has a story.” You can have your Bocata served without the bun, on fries, pasta or on top of veggies.
“Depending on your kind of escape, you can choose the style your Bocata comes in. Whether you’re a wine-&-dine kind of foodie, a snack-foodie or the grab-a-sandwich-&-go-for-adventuring kind, Bistoro has your foodie-style,” she said.
You can choose from various types of Bocata, which can now be served in traditionally on a Spanish bun, in a wrap or panini, or served on top of home cut fries, pasta or vegetables.
The must-try Bocata, according to the couple, is their Award-winning Bisteak, made of premium marinated top sirloin beef, roasted with Pueblo Chile, sautéed with onions and aioli, typically served on a Spanish-style hoagie bun. This sandwich won a recent Pueblo Spice Up Competition, as being one of our town’s best custom recipes made from locally grown Pueblo chiles.
Other specialty Bocatas, include their Euskara (pork loin with piquillo peppers, sauteed onion & aioli), Fieri (pork loin with fresh onion, fresh tomato & tarator), Tivoli (chicken with tomato, onion, garlic bruschetta and Parmesan, Elena (chicken (with fresh cucumber, fresh onion & tarator), Lobera (grilled mushrooms with sauteed onion, Pueblo chile & aioli) or Apolonia (Eggplant with sauteed onion, aioli & balsamic).
You can take any variety of Bocata, and have it made into their newest menu item, a “Bocadillo,” a pocket-sized sandwich grilled on both sides. Or, if you want traditional Pueblo Mexican food with a twist, you can try their new Bocadillos – choosing from either their Queso Bocadillos Cheesy Bocadillo or Ensalada Bocadillos.
Pellumb, who has an extensive background in culinary arts, worked at numerous other restaurants and received his culinary degree from Pueblo Community College, prior to open his own restaurant with his wife, who’s father’s family immigrated to Pueblo from Spain and taught her Spanish cooking.
To keep their menu item prices down, Pellumb does all the prep work themselves. Their prices are affordable, starting at $5, with their highest priced lunch item at $10. Appetizers, salads and desserts range from $6 to $7. Dinners are more, but well worth it.
Their other culinary creations include their house Tapas (appetizers), which are served all day, and include Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Basque potato salad, Pueblo Stuffed Baby Bells, El Pueblito Pintxos, Bruschetta-Tivoli Pintxo and their House Garlic Bisque.
Another of the restaurant’s novel offerings is their Ensaladas Rusticas, a variety of salads, featuring locally grown farm-fresh vegetables.
For dinner, head to the Bistoro hungry, and ready for a real treat, choosing from Penne me Perime, Mushroom-Steak, Gran Teton Trout, Rocky Mountain Trout in a White Wine Sauce, or specials they offer seasonally.
The Bistoro now serves alcoholic beverages and has some wondering custom Spanish and European drinks you’ll enjoy with your meals – and. dessert items, even if you carry it out full – Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake Tullumba. They also serve speciality coffee, teas, smoothies and sodas.
Bistoro was featured as the Pueblo County’s Spotlight on Local Business for the month of November last year, where a shop and eat local non-profit selects a locally owned, outstanding business each month.
If you love food, put Bocatas and Bocadillos on your list of must-try menu items to enjoy at the Bistoro in Pueblo. While there, be sure to thank this hard working, humble and gracious family for adding yet another great, unique family run restaurant in our up and coming food city! As per their slogan, Eat Well and Be Happy!
The Bistoro, Open 11 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Saturday for lunch and 5 pm to 9pm for dinner. 109 Central Plaza, Downtown Pueblo, 719-696-9672.
Photo of the Dhamos and their Spanish-style sandwiches (head to their FB page, website and to online reviews for photos of their amazing other food).
Bistoro on FB – https://www.facebook.com/BistoroPueblo/
For all things Pueblo-food join our group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/PuebloEatsAndEntertains/