AURORA – This is a first of its kind not only in the region but in the state of Illinois, an authentic Bolivian restaurant. Husband and wife duo Oscar and Alice Butron are bringing what they describe as a new concept of South American flavors through their dishes at Alice’s Corner.
They started at farmers markets 10 years ago and were finally able to open their store last year along Restaurant Row in downtown Aurora at 37 West New York Street.
It was their golden, perfectly formed and generously stuffed empanadas that gave their business its growing popularity when they began selling at the Aurora Farmer’s Market and the French Market in downtown Geneva.
Oscar walks us through the process while explaining that it was all just a side job for him and Alice while she worked in a factory and he ran a fast food restaurant for 25 years.
Although empanadas can be found all over the world, including Latin America, Butron’s process is a little different. They form and then fry their empanadas.
“My wife, I remember at that point, she said, ‘I want to leave this job,’” Oscar said. “I said ‘stop’ because I can support my house and everything.”
And that’s when they both decided to go all out by having long lines at farmers’ markets with people coming from near and far for their produce.
With help from the city, the Butrons were finally able to open their store last August.
On their first anniversary, Aurora officials celebrated this milestone by raising the Bolivian flag.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, more than 2,500 Bolivians lived in Illinois.
Currently, Oscar says there are about 20 Bolivian families in Aurora.
But no matter how big the community’s physical presence, for the Butrons, it’s about bringing a piece of their country to the region through a variety of dishes.
The dishes that the couple prepares from scratch with the help of their six employees are intended to transport people to this central South American country.
The Butrons have also included dishes on their menu that cater to the city’s melting pot of Hispanics, like tamales, stuffed yuca, and the passion fruit tea known as maracuya. Specifically specific products that have piqued the interest of customers old and new.
So, what’s next for this unique restaurant?
“We’ll probably open another restaurant in Geneva, and then we’ll go to town (Chicago),” Oscar says.
Oscar describes them as goals he and his wife dreamed of when they arrived in Aurora 32 years ago, yearning for the traditional foods served in their country while chasing the American dream.
“We feel happy, blessed for this restaurant,” Oscar says. “And I say thank you to God for everything. And thank you, thank you for everything.
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