Edible Ink: Anthony Falcon of Gaucho Parilla Argentina

By Rachel Jones / Photography By Michael Fornataro | April 07, 2017
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At first glance, the tattoos that cover Anthony Falcon’s arms and chest are pretty recognizable — dragons, Mary Magdalene, tigers. But the significant meaning behind each piece is much deeper than that. “Most of my tattoos are memories,” he explains. “I have a really bad memory, a horrible memory. Sometimes, when I look at the tattoos, I remember different times in my life and I can remember who I was with, what I was doing, and some of the experiences I’ve had in the past.”

Before opening Gaucho Parilla Argentina in the Strip District, Falcon worked in Asian cuisine, working with everyone from big Burrito Restaurant Group’s Bill Fuller to renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. His culinary curiosities led him to travel, which then led to the tattoos on his right arm and chest.  

“I have an affinity for Asian tattoos,” he says, rotating his wrist so I can get a better look at the entwined dragons on his right arm. “Dragons are a symbol of protection in Asian culture. In this sense, I guess they’re protecting me because they’re on my body. But I also become a protector for others, in some manner of speaking.”

The Buddhist-style tattoo on his chest, which is called a “blessing,” depicts two tigers but represents the attributes of willpower and strength. While physical strength is the obvious connection, Falcon says it’s more about the inner strength we all harbor. “Internally, I think that’s where humans draw their real strength,” Falcon says. “So I’m looking for unbeatable spirituality wherever I can achieve it.”

On that note, we move on to his left arm, where a colorful portrait of Mary Magdalene symbolizes another important aspect for him: forgiveness. “As the story goes, the woman was a diseased prostitute. She was basically a reflection or a metaphor of the worst that you can become,” Falcon says. “Jesus found it in his heart to forgive her. And so, if he can forgive her, surely I can forgive anyone else and any transgressions. This is a reminder to have an open heart and try to be forgiving.”

His inspiring ink fits with his positive personality and his natural ability to make smiles across the city — and not just from those enjoying the restaurant’s pollo con pan! Each piece of art acts as an introverted proclamation, speaking to where Falcon has been in the past and what messages he’d like to share in the future.  Gaucho Parilla Argentina, eatgaucho.com.

Number of Tattoos:
I can’t really keep count.  

First Tattoo:
Dead Kennedys symbol when I was 18

The one on my neck. Really, it seems to offend some people. They see the tattoo and then they feel uncomfortable. I would never willingly want to make anyone uncomfortable. It’s very important to me that we are of one earth and one race: human.

Next Tattoo:
A pirate ship. My most recent trip was to Saint John, and I had never been to the Caribbean before. Out there in the ocean, there was this pirate ship. It had the flags, and the skull and crossbones. And I thought, ‘That’s going to be it.’

Inspiration for Tattoos:
For me, these are memories and places I’ve been. It goes back to the concept of Sailor Jerry — you’re on a boat, you stop at a port, and then you get a tattoo wherever you are. Right now, for me, I think I developed this thing where everywhere I go, that’s what I want to get a tattoo of. I’ve had some in Florida, some in Vegas, many in Pittsburgh, and Thailand. I’m overdue for a couple.

Chefs & Tattoos:
It’s all part of our culture — sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, tattoos, loud music. Why do we do it? I don’t know. It’s like a punishment. You’re under the needle for 12 hours and it’s like taking a good beating. Sometimes, you just need a good beating. (Laughs)

“It’s just a family thing to put our name somewhere,” he explains, noting that his brother has “Falcon” tattooed on his shoulder, too. “It symbolizes our family pride.”

Article from Edible Allegheny at http://edibleallegheny.ediblecommunities.com/eat/edible-ink-anthony-falcon-gaucho-parilla-argentina
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