The Teatro Colón’s eateries are getting an overdue makeover

A new renovation project aims to bring the opera house’s confiterías and bars into the 21st century while preserving its history

The Teatro Colón is getting a makeover.

On Wednesday, August 23, the food service conglomerate Grupo L welcomed members of the press to the newly renovated Confitería Viamonte on the second floor of the storied opera house. Blue Catering, the Grupo L brand that spearheaded the project, will be restoring the Colón’s Confitería Tucuman as well.

According to Grupo L’s executive director, Sebastián Lusardi, the project will cost upwards of AR$200 million, of which AR$100 million has already been invested in the Confiteria Viamonte, along with the Colón’s three foyer bars. 

“We are committed to preserving this place full of history, art, and culture, taking care of it, and creating a gastronomical experience at the level of this incredible theater,” Lusardi said in a statement.

The eatery’s transformation is striking. Gone is the confitería’s cafe-style seating; in its place are conjoined booths with a mid-century feel, flanked on each side with more intimate tables for two. The bar, meanwhile, has been divided into two smaller subsections at each end of the dining hall — one to make a payment and another to retrieve an order.

For interior designer Coty Larguía, it was a labor of love. 

“The bar was very old and wasn’t up to the theater’s level of sophistication,” Larguía told the Herald. 

Confitería Viamonte prior to its renovation

“The idea was to create a space that reimagines the way that people interact with each other,” she continued. “My personal mission was to ensure that patrons of the Colón who come each month didn’t feel as though I had taken something away from them or designed something that didn’t belong to them.” 

Grupo L hopes to relaunch Confitería Tucuman sometime later this year, although a date has not yet been set. Of the Colón’s seven eateries, only El Pasaje de los Carruajes is accessible to the general public; the rest require that you purchase a ticket to one of the opera house’s myriad productions.

Designed by the Italian architect and engineer Charles Pellegrini, the first Colón theater opened in Plaza de Mayo in 1857. A second, designed by Francesco Tamburini, began construction at its present location 32 years later. That building was finally completed in 1908 by the Belgian architect Julio Dormal following Tamburini’s death. The Colón closed its doors to be refurbished in 2006 and reopened in 2010 for the bicentennial of Argentina’s May Revolution.

“I also studied theater design,” Larguía added, “So working at the Colón was a huge challenge and honor for me.”

Credit for images: Gentiliza de Grupo L


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