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El Gato Cantina Pops Up for the Holidays in University Mall

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Javier Zirko and Amy Boadway of El Gato Cantina - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Javier Zirko and Amy Boadway of El Gato Cantina

El Gato Cantina will operate a pop-up in the food court of the University Mall in South Burlington for the holiday shopping season, said Tree Bertram, owner of the Mexican restaurant, which has branches in Burlington and Essex Junction.

From Black Friday through the end of December, the satellite location will serve an abbreviated and slightly customized menu of burritos, tacos, churros and burrito bowls. The last item is a new addition to the offerings at El Gato's two permanent locations. Served on a base of rice and beans, the bowls include vegetarian and meat options such as grilled chicken, shrimp and seasonal vegetables topped with cotija cheese and the kitchen's spicy Baja crema sauce.

Bertram said she was disappointed not to be able to offer margaritas and beer — "People really wanted it, and I did, too." But there was no time to obtain a new liquor license.

During two test runs the week of November 15, Bertram said, mall customers and workers responded positively to the pop-up. "Right now, there is only a juice bar and an Italian place in the food court," she said. "The workers were like, 'Thank you, we're so glad you're coming.'"

The original print version of this article was headlined "Mall Munchies"