The Barolins (right), are passing off the location of City Square Cafe to its new owner, Antonio Escamilla.
The restaurant will open on Friday as the Mariachi Tequila Restaurant.
For the owners of City Square Café in Manassas, it’s time to pass the torch.
Originally from Uruguay, Prince William residents Susanah and Robert Barolin started at the location back in 1989. But back then, it was a small business called The Sandwich Factory with no kitchen and an ice cream shop next door.
According to Susanah Barolin, the couple has been in the restaurant business for most of their lives, and now is the right time for them to retire.
“We’ve been in the restaurant business for a long time…both of us had managed restaurants,” Susanah Barolin said.
Over time, the Barolins started remodeling the business and adding a kitchen, before taking the plunge in 1996 and switching the business to the City Square Café, which has now been a successful international bistro restaurant in Downtown Manassas for many years.
Robert Barolin, who is a chef by trade, created many of the dishes that were served at the café.
“Some of the dishes were family recipes, some were my own creation. They’re actually keeping a couple that became well known in this area…we [had] pasta and seafood, and beef…we normally changed the menu twice a year,” said Robert Barolin.
Robert Barolin recalled memories of some of the fun things he and his wife tried at the restaurant over the years, such as their ‘travel around the world’ themed-cuisine events, where they would feature cuisine from countries like France and Spain.
Manassas has changed over the years
According to Robert Barolin, they’ve seen Manassas change greatly over the years.
“In 1989, Old Town Manassas wasn’t what it is today. It was really a ghost town,” Robert Barolin said.
Loy Harris, a former business owner and renowned community figure had approached the Barolins and shared his vision of turning a nearby parking lot into an attraction that would revitalize the area and bring people in, said Robert Barolin. That parking lot is The Harris Pavilion today.
“He passed away, so he never saw the pavilion done, but [they]…named it after him,” said Robert Barolin.
City Square Café to become Mariachi Tequila Restaurant
For the Barolins, it felt like the right time to pass on the business to the next generation, and begin their retirement.
“We’re retiring. The business was doing really well, and it has done really well for 27 years…it is an unusual thing to see a family business last that long, because it’s very tiring and it interferes with the family life…it’s time, it’s time. For almost 12 years we never took a vacation, so we’re trying to catch up here a little bit,” said Susanah Barolin.
According to Susanah Barolin, Antonio Escamilla – a former employee of the restaurant –will be taking over the location and opening up his own restaurant called Mariachi Tequila Restaurant, which will serve authentic Mexican cuisine.
“They [will be] a true, true Mexican restaurant. This isn’t your TexMex, or your Don Julio’s…if you look at the menu, you’re going to see dishes you’ve never heard of before,” said Robert Barolin.
The restaurant will have several different tequilas and a full bar, as well as traditional Mexican dishes including mejillones de tempura, tostaditas de tinga and tamalitos de pollo. The location will also feature artwork made by local artists and colorful decorations.
“I’m feeling happy, I’m feeling good,” said Escamilla.
Mariachi Tequila Restaurant is set to open this Friday, January 8.
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