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El Sur serving authentic Honduran dishes to Little Rock community

The story of El Sur is one of opportunity and community, as many in Little Rock rallied behind the restaurant and its owner who recently became a U.S. citizen.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Eat It Up is all about telling the stories of local eateries. Sometimes these stories even have sequels, which is why we returned to El Sur.  

We first visited El Sur in 2019 and at the time they were a new food truck. They quickly made a name for themselves and became known for their delicious Honduran cuisine, often selling out of their staple item – the balleada.  

For owners Luis Vasquez and Darren Strayhorn, life was good on the food truck, even it was a bit cramped at times. 

As good as the food truck was, their increasingly loyal customer base wanted more, which included more space. The calls for a brick-and-mortar grew louder as more Arkansans fell in love with what they were serving up.  

While the customers were ready for the transition, Luis and Darren weren’t quiet there yet. COVID certainly played a role in the slow-paced decision, but Luis was also busy. 

Over the years, Luis had been working towards earning American citizenship. The years-long process finally came to fruition when he was sworn in as a new citizen earlier this year.  

It turns out the American dream would be realized very quickly. The same week Luis was sworn in he and Darren signed papers to lease a brick and mortar location in the SoMa community in downtown Little Rock. 

The building itself is owned by one of El Sur’s most loyal customers-- one of the very patrons who encouraged Luis and Darren to open up a permanent location!

The location is special to Luis and Darren. SoMa is the community that embraced their authentic food truck first. If you ever wondered where Luis and Darren were slinging balleadas, it was likely somewhere in SoMa.  

A new space meant new opportunities. Today you’ll find an expanded Honduran menu with staples from Luis’s home country. You’ll also find a full bar with specialty drinks, many of which Darren has crafted himself. 

We recommend the chips and salsa. They are unlike any you’ll find elsewhere.  

Of course alongside all the new items on the menu are the original staples we fell in love with from the food truck.  

When asked what it meant to become a U.S. citizen and open a popular restaurant, Luis said it’s far beyond his wildest dreams. 

For Luis it’s much deeper than just that, it’s the opportunity to live authentically. At the time he was earning his citizenship, his home country was rated the second most dangerous country to be openly gay. 

Now successful entrepreneurs, Luis and Darren are proud to be sharing their life and culture with the rest of us.    

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