Clarification: This article was originally published on September 25, 2019. It was updated in August 2021 for French Fries Day.
6:00 pm Jirón de la Unión, Downtown Lima. While I wait for a taxi outside the Rincón Cervecero –a very crowded bar that I also recommend-, I see with surprise what is happening around me, in the same block where I am standing, actually. Every minute, 8 out of 10 people who walk towards Plaza San Martín carry the same thing in their hands: a cone with what appear to be French fries.
Those of us who have spent years walking the most emblematic streets of the capital know that this is not something common. Until a few months ago it would have been impossible to paint a similar picture. Everything changed when John Cano and Cristian Mamani decided to create the Papas Queen’s brand, a fast food place where you can buy cones, boxes, hamburgers, everything to take away. Perhaps a new format for us, but not in other parts of the world.
In fact, Cristian’s focus was turned on like that, on a trip to Amsterdam. “”, Says Mamani. He is Peruvian, a businessman, he studied at Le Cordon Bleu, he worked for a couple of years in restaurants in the United States and now he seeks to create a “chain” of places like the one we have come to know.
His Colombian friend John Cano liked the idea and they partnered. The first thing they did was find a place. They almost opened first in Gamarra, but in the Center they found a better place. Inside a parking lot they discovered a perfect space, but with a detail: they had to knock down a wall to have a view of the street. Today, that pile of cement is now the front door.
The second was to create a concept. They didn’t just want to imitate what is already common in countries like the Netherlands and Belgium. They were looking for something more, a differential. In this exploration of ideas, the following emerged: create a cone that, in addition to accommodating a large amount of potatoes, connects with a glass to carry liquid. That is to say: two in one. They created the design, put it together in cardboard, patented it and today it is a reality. You can buy your Snack Queen’s, eat and drink at the same time. Yes, the straw is set in such a way that it will not cost you to enjoy a chicha morada while you eat with the other hand.
“We have found that people like to have the experience of buying their cone and eating it while walking. But we have also observed that many of the customers who come, buy our products and are looking for a place to sit to enjoy it in a more relaxed way. They have also told us to open in other districts, because this format is not seen in other places. They have even offered us a franchise, but we are just starting and we have more projects in mind ”, says Cano, a native of Medellín and with experience in managing fast food stores in the coffee-growing country.
Not a minor detail: the potatoes served at Papas Queen’s are native, Peruvian. The creams are also prepared by themselves.
When this article was made, in September 2019, Papas Queen’s had only 4 months in operation, had four fryers and two refrigerators and sold up to 600 cones, not counting the other snacks that are within their offer. Currently, they have stores in 5 districts: Downtown Lima, Chorrillos, San Martín de Porres, Miraflores and Los Olivos; and they have their own app for delivery:
These are some of the Papas Queen’s snacks, which combine the flavor of the delicious Peruvian potato with anticuchos, sausage, hot wings and even the chaufa in the traditional ‘mosquito’.
In a city like Lima, where time is short, the creation of John and Cristian is the perfect lunch for those who are in a hurry and are very hungry.
Papas Queen’s Store Address:
Jr. de la Unión, 1077. Lima.
Alameda Los Horizontes 1202, Los Cedros. Chorrillos.
Av. Defensores del Morro, 748. Chorrillos.
Of. Habich 441, SMP.
Av. Carlos Izaguirre, 780. Los Olivos.
Av. Angamos, 455. Miraflores.