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Meet Sharon and Adam Go of Barrio in Garden Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon and Adam Go.

We both started our restaurant careers more than a decade ago (this is how we met way back in 2008!) with Hillstone Restaurant Group (concepts including Houston’s, Gulfstream, R&D Kitchen, Bandera, etc.) that led us to nurture our love for food and hospitality across the country. We learned the type of systems, staff, and operational fortitude that it takes to put a restaurant in the best position to succeed.

We each separately started our own hospitality “projects” before we started dating–Sharon owned 2 Yogurtland franchises, and Adam opened Pueblo (a modern Spanish tapas restaurant in Costa Mesa) in 2014 about six months before we started dating. After Sharon sold both franchises in 2016-2017, she became more involved in Pueblo’s day to day operations. Growing Pueblo’s reputation in Orange County was an incredibly rewarding experience, filled with the types of struggles and victories large and small that we will remember forever. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided in June that we can no longer continue to operate Pueblo personally and had to figure out the best route forward in an uncertain time. Our hearts collectively broke for our staff and guests, who we all consider as part of our extended family.

Barrio opened in September of 2019 as a Filipino BBQ spot (four months after we had a baby….rough timing!), however, it truly came into its own just when we let go of Pueblo. At this time, we were able to re-brand the concept from a simple Filipino BBQ spot to an extensive off-the-grill menu featuring both Korean-Filipino favorites, truly representing us as a couple. Sharon has showcased some of her other talents in curating the menu from all the marinades to our signature salad dressing, to even her ever-popular Frozen Mango Cream pie! Adam, per usual, brought his incredible breadth of operations and hospitality know-how making Barrio a family-like, yet still professional, community establishment. While it was unfortunate to see what the pandemic has brought to many restaurants like Pueblo, we consider ourselves blessed that Barrio is located in Steelcraft, a location that features all outdoor seating with proper safety protocols. Not to mention the food is more pickup/delivery friendly for the ever-changing dining landscape! We continue to innovate with popular specials like our Korean Burrito a.k.a. “Korrito” — spicy pork bulgogi, melted cheese, cilantro, garlic rice, in a pressed tortilla served with a house lime crema!

We hope to be able to continue building this brand, and possibly even expand in the near future, in order to provide high quality grilled plates at an amazing value to other communities! We have a lot more of the Barrio love to share 🙂

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
NO, it has not been a smooth road! I think anyone in restaurants or hospitality will tell you that this career path/choice is fraught with the unexpected.

Obviously, one of the hardest things we have had to deal with is the effect of this pandemic. Closing Pueblo was heartbreaking, and we continue to deal with the many challenges and curveballs this pandemic has thrown our way.

Opening Barrio and continuing to operate Pueblo while having a four months old was one of the most challenging things we have had to deal with. There were some days where we would see our daughter, Layla, once in the mornings and not again until the next day. Sharon, being the mother, really struggled during this time because her body was still healing and she was still breastfeeding. It was just bad timing because there were several construction delays for Barrio and the timing just worked out this way. Luckily, our Pueblo family and our personal families really stepped it up and supported us so much through this time. As much as we look back on how difficult it was going through this, on the other side, we are always reminded of how blessed we are to have such an amazing network of love and support.

And on a day-to-day basis, we consider ourselves a very human operation and humans get sick, get into accidents, have babies, don’t show up to work, etc., so we are always on our toes trying to damage control, strategize, and run the business with limited resources at times.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Barrio story. Tell us more about the business.
Represent two different cuisines through the same ‘style’ of fresh grilled BBQ with sides and pickles. Goes to show that synergy in fusion can be really delicious!

We are proud to be able to expand what people think of BBQ. Korean is certainly more ‘mainstream’, but it’s really a source of pride to see our guests order equal parts Korean and Filipino!

Our Mom-and-Pop represents each half of our concept! Just like our 15 months old daughter, we have an offspring that is half of each of us. That’s pretty special to us.

Just like many passionate proprietors, we love rolling up our sleeves and being in the trenches to work side by side with our staff. There’s not a lot more rewarding than delivering happiness to our guests as a collective.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck, to us, is just an offshoot of some unpredictability that life brings. What matters is what we do with it.

It may be ‘bad’ luck that we started a new business last year while Sharon was a brand new mother with all the inherent challenges that came with it, but we decided to pull through it together and find ways to work smarter and be more efficient. It may be ‘bad’ luck that we were required to shut down for months due to the pandemic, but we decided to use that as an opportunity to re-brand and make Barrio better than ever.

We believe in that mantra that luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity. Any blessings or struggles we encounter, we try to keep an open mind, stay together, and always make the best of the situation.

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