Odessa – When it comes to finding unique food stops in the Petroplex, I’ve been looking far and wide to strike it rich. But as soon as I stepped foot into the Curbside Bistro, I could tell this stop is something special. “It’s like a best kept secret,” said customer Kim Stewart. “It’s crazy. It really is crazy. People love to eat here,” said owner Alejandro Barrientos.
Alejandro and his wife Stephanie are the foodies that founded the Curbside Bistro back in 2014 but this business is a far cry from working in the oil field. Alejandro knows firsthand. “Being in the oil field, you kind of have some downtime and start seeing what you want to do, your passion for it. And I’ve always had a passion for barbecue, and it wasn’t until I started researching, you could make your own barbecue sauce. You could make your own barbecue rubs. So I started experimenting and I started cooking,’ explained Alejandro.
After attending culinary school, Alajandro took a leap of faith and started out in a food truck but it wasn’t any run of the mill food truck. “I saved up money. Me and her [Stephanie], we bought a box truck. I used an oil field box truck. Completely gutted, there was nothing in it. And then, one paycheck I would save up and then we’d buy the fryer and then, okay, we scratched that off our list. And then what do we need now? We need a hot water heater. How much is it? This much. All right, let’s start saving. So me and her, we would save, we’d put our money together and we bought it slowly, but little by little,” explained Alejandro.
Those closest to Alajandro were somewhat encouraging. “You know, we tell family and friends, hey, we’re opening a food truck. They’re like, ‘Oh, that’s awesome. What kind of tacos are you going to sell?’,” joked Alejandro.
Taco wasn’t what was on his mind, instead he wanted to create crazy concoctions of serious sliders and freaky fries full of flavor. It wasn’t long before folks were fond of his food truck but the next step would be even bigger for Alajandro and his wife. ‘You want to take this leap of faith with me?’ She goes, ‘Yeah let’s do it.’ So we both kind of quit both our jobs and dove head first into this. And haven’t looked back,” said Alejandro.
That courageous leap of faith was pretty daunting to Alejandro and Stephanie. “Oh yeah. It’s very scary. You go from knowing you’re going to get a paycheck every Friday benefits, stable job, to hey, we don’t sell these burgers we don’t eat. But you know, no risk, no reward. We knew something was calling us into us. God was moving us and opening doors for us, and we knew this is what we had to do,” expressed Alejandro.
His most sought-after slider, the Tejano Borracho. “It’s a blended mushroom patty topped with pulled pork, kickin’ bourbon sauce. We add a little alcohol in there, a fried jalapeno corn fritter, cilantro ranch, queso and all sandwiched in a brioche bun,” said Alejandro.
Holy moly! This slider is so sensational, it’s made it all the way to New York City! “That one actually won us the James Beard Foundation competition, where we went to James Beard House in New York city. We had to represent West Texas,’ stated Alejandro.
Let’s go cook a Drunk Texan! Alejandro starts off with a patty that’s 70 percent beef and 30 percent mushrooms and while the sliders sizzle up, Alajandro gets started on my side. “Wait til you see the Buffalo fries. You’ll be like, oh this is awesome,” joked Alejandro.
Fresh marinated chicken is battered and fried while fries are topped with cheese, the chicken, cilantro ranch and buffalo sauce. The small sized burger is topped with pulled pork, bourbon BBQ sauce, fresh jalapenos, pickles, some cilantro ranch, the jalapeno corn fritter and a bit of jalapeno queso.
As soon as I sat down to enjoy the meal, I knew Alejandro had hooked us up with one insane plate. The Buffalo fries are over stacked. The sliders are trying to hold things together and somehow we’re going to devour this. “I come for this and I don’t deviate,” said Kim.
The marinated chicken with that house made ranch and Buffalo sauce just takes things to a whole other level. “We always get the full order, cause go big go home,” joked customer John Stewart.
Now I understand why the Buffalo fries are so popular! “I don’t share. I get the full order and it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint. And I do this once or twice a week with my husband and without,” joked Kim.
I guess we should go ahead and slide on into the sliders. Never has one bite provided so much fantastic flavor. “You can’t get it anywhere else. This is the only one here in West Texas or in existence,” said John.
Well, if you’re a fan of rich flavors that bring out the biggest and boldest taste that we love here in Texas, coming here to the Curbside Bistro in Odessa is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List. “I cut my teeth in the restaurant business here in Odessa, and for a lot of young culinarians, they want to go to Austin, Houston, go to big name chefs. And I said, no, I want to make this my home, this is where I was born and raised, I got my family and friends. I want to represent Odessa and show them that, ‘Hey, we can be just as good as those guys or not better.’ And I wanted to show young culinarians that are getting their start in culinary school that, ‘Hey, you can make it here too.’ You don’t have to go to these big cities,” expressed Alejandro.