Bar-Eat-O offers fresh food and atmosphere

The want for a quality, local Mexican restaurant is a sentiment I have expressed and heard other students utter countless times. The latest culinary edition to Geneseo satisfies that very void. I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for the opening of the restaurant and bar Bar-Eat-O on Jan. 12.

After trying my first Bar-Eat-O burrito with a friend on Saturday Jan. 30, I was overcome with delight at the realization that now I can grab a quick and delicious Mexican repast or snack. Even more delightful is the fact that Bar-Eat-O is barely off campus—located at 3 Bank St. Gone are my days of waiting for breaks or weekends home to get my fix of perfectly seasoned rice and beans, tasty veggies and to-die-for salsas, wrapped in a freshly warmed tortilla.

A stylish patchwork of wood, metal and brick, Bar-Eat-O’s exterior evokes an industrial avant-garde tenor, suggesting an application of innovation and thoughtful precision to the food within. The milieu successfully carries through to the restaurant’s interior, consisting of uncomplicated yet urbane décor. Although the color scheme maintains mostly earthy tones, bright red tiles spell out Bar-Eat-O on a white tile background lining the counter, adding a flare that parallels the Mexican cuisine’s coveted accents of spice.

Offering a Chipotle-like experience, Bar-Eat-O’s ordering method allows patrons to view and select the components of their burritos, tacos, bowls, nachos and more. I enjoyed a fat burrito of rice, black beans, pico de gallo, corn, guacamole, shredded cheese and spicy mango habanero salsa. The combination possibilities seemed endless and I’m eager to return to try more. The line for food orders was long but moved quickly, reflecting the efficiency of the employees’ service.

Takeout from Bar-Eat-O is also an appealing option, although I have yet to take advantage of it. The bowls are convenient plastic containers reminiscent of Tupperware. I can see my future self becoming hooked on getting Bar-Eat-O meals to-go, allowing me to munch on them during the day while I study and do homework between classes.

As a vegetarian, my primary concern before going to the new establishment was whether or not many vegetarian and vegan options would be available. I was glad to have my worry alleviated. Bar-Eat-O provides an abundance of both vegetarian and vegan choices; not only with beans, vegetables and sauces, but also with the provision of tofu as a substitute for animal-protein fillings, such as barbacoa and pork. I was also thrilled to see that quinoa was one of the grains offered.

It is well known that the location of Bar-Eat-O was formerly Vital Spot sports bar, which was most notably a late night and weekend hangout joint. The new restaurant pays homage to the previous “watering hole” by including its own bar.  Aimed more at the happy hour or drinks-with-dinner customers rather than the rowdy nighttime crowd, the bar seems to have already become a popular destination. I absolutely plan to chat with friends over beers there when our schedules allow the opportunity to arise. I experienced a full house at Bar-Eat-O on Saturday Jan. 30, as the bar and restaurant seating area was packed with both students and local residents alike.

The excitement and suspense leading up to the restaurant-bar’s opening was not for naught. I found the merge of chic atmosphere and quality food at Bar-Eat-O gratifying on many levels. Geneseo’s newest establishment certainly possesses that “je ne sais quoi” that not only placates appetite, but also conjures up a feeling of inspiration.