The restaurant on wheels is in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. / SUR

Malaga's ‘campero’ sandwich wins over the French

A Costa-del-Sol-born entrepreneur is opening two restaurants in Bourg-en-Bresse and Modane after his success with a food truck in the Alps

JUAN SOTO

The ‘campero’, a popular sandwich in bars across Malaga province, has jumped the Pyrenees and seduced the French public thanks to a local entrepreneur who has turned this grilled bun, typically filled with cooked ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, into a way to earn his living.

The entrepreneur in question is Daniel Rojas, who emigrated to France from Malaga with his parents while very young and was not willing to give up a link with his homeland. Rojas is based in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, a small village in the Alps where he runs a food truck, and is about to open two restaurants in the towns of Bourg-en-Bresse and Modane.

The business adventure of this Malaga native began in 2017 when he opened the food truck in a village popular with skiers. Little by little his fame spread thanks to word of mouth and he is now planning to expand to nearby towns.

The first physical location of Campero’s (the company name) is scheduled to open this month in Bourg-en-Bresse, a town known throughout the world for its many Michelin stars. The second one will open in July in Modane, on the Italian border.

But Daniel doesn’t want to stop there and would like to conquer the whole of France: Paris, Cannes...

Expansion after Covid

Originally, the company started out as Paco Campero, but the entrepreneur decided to change the name after it was forced to close by the pandemic, and he began thinking of extending the brand through a franchise. The restaurant that will open during July will be run by a franchisee (the chef he had in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne before closing due to Covid).

Daniel Rojas recognises that the great leap that the company is going to make was cooked-up during the pandemic; time that this professional took advantage of to study and improve the recipe of his products. Now - he says - eating a campero in his place is almost the same as doing it in any bar in Malaga, although the views are not the same.

The opening of his first physical premises has also encouraged him to expand the menu and offer other typical Malaga products, such as baked potatoes, molletes and tapas. He has even bought a traditional oven from a craftsman in Jaén. As if that were not enough, the first establishment will be crowned with Malaga, Andalusian and Spanish flags.

Of the camperos, he says that it is a product that everyone who tries it likes. “Many people think we cook pizzas, but when they come in and stay, they go home very happy.

Daniel takes the time to explain to customers the history of the sandwich and of his hometown. “In France there is no one else who makes them,” he boasts.

Without blushing, he explains that the French “go crazy when they try it”. He especially recalls a visit last year by a woman who has a very popular cooking blog in France and who said the campero was a marvel for the taste buds. “Here they make a lot of hamburgers, kebabs and paninis, but people are tired of always eating the same thing and are discovering a part of Malaga,” says Daniel.