Lo de Carlitos, the Pancake King

Eternal Carlitos, famous for over 1,000 salty and sweet pancakes for all tastes is one of the living legends in the City of Villa Gesell.

History goes that Carlos Ciuffardi, best known as Carlitos, did a little bit of everything ever since he landed on Villa Gesell and before he became the Pancake King.

Son of Italian immigrants, he was born in the porteño neighborhood of Saavedra in 1934 and ever since he was a kid, he started to work. He was a street vendor, a factory worker, a body builder and a football player at Club Atlético Platense.

And one day he saw the sea for the first time and he fell madly in love with it. He became a lifeguard and settled down in Villa Gesell, where he started working at a small shop of the then well-known La Martona. He was only 28.

At this location, people sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of milk and a pancake filled with dulce de leche. His passion and inventiveness led him to become a partner in the business in a few years. But he was ambitious.

  • Eternal Carlitos

    Eternal Carlitos

  • Salty pancake

    Salty pancake

  • Strawberry ice cream pancake, almonds

    Strawberry ice cream pancake, almonds

  • Arugula pancake, raw ham, cheese and tomato

    Arugula pancake, raw ham, cheese and tomato

  • Green pancake

    Green pancake

  • Also for celiacs

    Also for celiacs

Carlitos quickly became a businessman at this prosperous city and he became famous in the 1980s, when his own shop, named Carlitos, offered over fifty varieties of pancakes in Villa Gesell. The emblematic menu of the restaurant included names of celebrated musicians, world figures and outstanding sportsmen.

All his creations had a number that made reference to some celebrity and of course a combination of ingredients that would not be repeated in another pancake. Thus, Diego Maradona, Juan Manuel Fangio, Carlos Monzón, Gabriel Batistuta, León Gieco and Luis Alberto Spinetta, among dozens of artists and sportsmen, had their own dish at the restaurants owned by Carlitos, which were named after them.

As years passed, everyone began to forget Carlos Ciuffardi's real name and our friend became simply Carlitos, the Pancake and Hamburger King (another specialty of his)

Villa Gesell adopted him as his favorite son and, in addition to paying a visit to his place, tourists turned it into an attraction. They would not hesitate to queue for long whiles to see him cook, listen to an anecdote or piece of advice. He was a friend to everyone.

In 1982, he inaugurated his second shop, this time in Vicente Lopez: El Amanecer de Carlitos y sus hijos (Carlitos and his children's sunrise), for those who wished to continue enjoying his anecdotes and delicacies year round. It lay minutes away from the City of Buenos Aires.

That place reproduced the spirit of Villa Gesell. The presence of Carlitos ensured the same kind of mysticism.

His children followed the family tradition paying attention to their father's teachings and they created the trademark Lo de Carlitos, el sabor original ® (Carlitos' place, the original flavor). Today, the trademark is present in several points in the City of Buenos Aires and, of course, at Villa Gesell.

In April 2010, Carlitos passed away at the age of 76. His love for life, for Villa Gesell and the griddle and his own creations remains intact. And the legend is more alive than ever.

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Gentileza Lodecarlitos.com

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