Upside Down Churros

This is the oldest and most emblematic churro place in Villa Gesell. A fascinating story.

After several frustrated attempts to set up a churro place in Buenos Aires, in the summer of 1968 Hugo and Cacho settled down the first churro place in Villa Gesell after Juan, a mutual friend, convinced them to do so.

They found the cheapest venue at the end of the population of Villa Gesell in those days, on the corner of Avenue 3 and 110 Street. They set up their factory there using the machines they had brought from Buenos Aires.

They called an artist to paint the shop window and they all decided to follow the porteño tradition and named the venue simply “Fábrica de churros” (churro factory). The artist recommended them to write some name and suggested “El Topo” after Gigio, one of the most significant TV characters of the time. And they agreed.

But what was curious and still is for visitors to Gesell is that they resolved to paint the sign upside down in order to catch the eye of passer-byes. They thought that way people would stop walking to see what the sign read. This is the story of the mythical upside-down sign.

  • Churros at the beach

    Churros at the beach

  • An ideal beach

    An ideal beach

  • A warm pleasure in the early morning.

    A warm pleasure in the early morning.

  • A great story.

    A great story.

Juan was right. He had been camping at Villa Gesell with his wife since 1965 and year after year he would observe how the number of visitors to the city increased. Thus, new entrepreneurs were lucky enough to have great success during the 1968 season, so much so that the following year they resolved to open a new branch, the first one in the City of Necochea, where there was no churro place.

Hugo trusted the growth of the store at Villa Gesell and Cacho that of Necochea. Each of them kept their own business. They were partners and owned the trademark together. They also respected the elaboration formulas and the quality of their products.

Years passed and the venues became well-known. Long queues (reaching over 50 meters) on rainy days and churros at the beach on sunny days turned it into the pastry of the summer. They became the fast food breakfast chosen by youths after dancing. A warm pleasure in the early morning.

After 41 years, Juan Manuel, Hugo's younger son, opened the first branch in the neighborhood of Palermo (1311, Serrano Street) in 2009, in the City of Buenos Aires.

And more and more stores were opened: Hugo opened one in Las Gaviotas in 2010; Carla, in Bahía Blanca; in 2013, Karina in Pinamar; and Juan Manuel opened two more branches in the City of Buenos Aires: one in Villa Urquiza in 2013 and one in Belgrano in 2014.

That is the story of the famous Churrería El Topo. A story of progress and effort that gives proof dreams may come true. There is a great story behind the man holding a basket and walking along the beach shouting “Hay churroooooos….” every summer in Villa Gesell.

Autor Pablo Etchevers Fotografo Pablo Etchevers

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