“When a guest stays in my home, I try to help them get to know my neighbourhood, Poblenou, by recommending local restaurants or shops that do not appear in travel guides,” explains Juan, who shares a room in his house. Poblenou home sharers met in one of these places to start their Small business trail, a trail around their neighbourhood led by hosts, stopping in and showcasing the best small businesses in the area.
Poblenou hosts dedicated a whole Saturday morning to visiting the businesses they recommend to their guests. While there, they explained the economic impact of home sharing and gave away stickers that small business owners could display in their shop window: “Business recommended by hosts”.
The starting point of the route was Bar Andalucia, which is part of the history of Poblenou. It was established by Antonio’s parents, the current owner, 47 years ago. “The real secret of our success is Juanita, our cook. She is magical. I do not know what we’ll do when she retires,” Antonio explains. Bar Andalucia serves homemade menus from noon, “with 12 starters, 12 main courses, 6 desserts, and a daily catchphrase, which I choose and write every day on the menu.”
The next stop for hosts was the Lebanese restaurant, Sundown, in Rambla del Poblenou. Marina, a Poblenou host, says she advises travellers to “stop at Sundown on their way to the beach and buy something to take away and eat in front of the sea.” Sundown prepares homemade falafel and shawarma for nearly 30 years.
From one historic business in the neighbourhood to one that is just beginning, the group visited the Bitácora bar, which for the past year, has been offering Poblenou neighbours its specialities of classic tapas, ceviches and tartar.
Next stop was to Doctor Trueta Street which hosts two of the best gastronomic food in the neighbourhood, according to home sharers. At 9 Porró you can find fresh fish and seafood, rice and classic tapas. Just opposite, on the other side of the street, Josep and Esther run Espai Tast, which offers all kinds of delicatessen, such as 100% pure bellota ham. “Something tough to find in this neighbourhood,” says Josep. The Iberian sausages come from Pedroche and Guijuelo; while you can find an assortment Catalan, Spanish and French speciality cheeses
The Poblenou Small Business Trail could only finish in the most emblematic place in the neighbourhood, El Tío Ché. Founded in 1912 by a family from Alicante, the hosts always recommend travellers not to miss the artisan horchata, ice creams and nougats.