The Shack

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By Jim Donahoe

I won’t forget my first visit to The Shack. A friend had recommended their hamburgers and I was definitely craving a good old burger. My friend was right. The food was great and affordable. Two other things caught my attention. First was the “ambiance”. Wow, talking about being creative. The owners converted what appeared to be a driveway into a comfortable, relaxed open-air restaurant and bar. It proved to me that you don’t need a ton of money to create great atmosphere. Free-hand written sayings on the walls and menus written on boxes let you know for sure that you are in The Shack!
The second and equally strong first impression came in the form of the owners, Travis and Rosy, together with their children, Raquel and Cam. The kids are adorable. Rosy exudes charisma and makes everyone feel welcome, and Travis is outspoken and engaging. What is also obvious is their passion for cooking and having fun with people. Travis and Rosy each bring their own recipes and cooking skills. “We make our food with a lot of love”, says Travis. Rosy adds, “We love to play with different foods and create unique dishes”. They do have regular menu features like Sundays, rotating between pig roasts to cajun style shrimp and crab boils. However, even these mainstays will be prepared with a little twist here and there to keep things fresh and interesting. On other days, Travis will venture to the public market and meander until something catches his eye and imagination, and thus that day’s ´ ¨Special¨ will be created. “Everything we prepare comes from fresh ingredients”, Travis states. Coming soon will be meat loaf, pork chops, winter soups and more.
Since opening in September of 2011, The Shack has evolved and grown. The walls are now covered with writings from people all over the world. Music has become integral with an open mike on Mondays, blues on Thursdays and Captain Wayne on Fridays and Saturdays. While you can also play darts and pool, you will not find any TVs hanging on walls. Quite by accident and after their one TV broke, Travis and Rosy discovered that not only did people still come, they actually talked with each other or with someone they didn’t know sitting at another table. Of course, offering good quality beers, wine and liquors for reasonable prices has always been standard practice at the Shack.
The newest addition is Travis’ true playground, Guido’s Authentic Italiano Restaurante, connected, yet separate, from The Shack. After opening early this summer and experimenting with ideas, they closed Guido´s for a short time to prepare for the season. This concept restaurant features only four tables and will seat guests every half hour beginning at 6 PM. This will allow Travis the time necessary to prepare scrumptious dinners and for customers to relax and enjoy the daily specials or standard hand made pasta featuring a variety of sauces.
I asked both individually what their favorite memory has been since opening in La Paz. Not surprisingly they each came up with the two same memories. While remodeling, Travis fell through the roof and broke two ribs. Though this caused some anxious moments, the memory was so fun that they created a sort of monument with a Travis like dummy hanging down from the open hole where he fell through the roof, thus creating a great conversation starter. The other memory shared by both are the many wonderful people they have met and become instant friends with from all over the world. What started out as a sailors sanctuary, The Shack has grown into a hangout for many folks from the US as well as Paceños.
So, whether you are looking for a very casual setting with great comfort food and fun atmosphere or a classic Italian dinner, take some time to discover The Shack and Guido’s any day from Thursday through Monday. They are located on Allende (2-way street) just 2 plus blocks up from the Malecon. Enjoy and have fun!
Jim Donahoe has been a licensed real estate broker for 30+ years, has consulted throughout Western Mexico for the last 9 years and has been a full time Paceño for nearly 3 years. Jim works full time as a real estate broker in La Paz. Contact him at: – or on his Mexican cell phone at 612 140-1054.

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