Language-learning app Duolingo is about to open a restaurant


Rendered courtesy of Duolingo

Popular language-learning app Duolingo is opening a restaurant, but there’s a catch:

Diners can get discounts if they are able to answer a question in Spanish when ordering.

Duo’s Taqueria is set to open next month in Pittsburgh, where the app is headquartered.

The take-out establishment serves Mexico City-inspired street tacos, with an emphasis on fresh nixtamal tortillas made in-house, the company said in a statement. The menu will also include agua frescas, salsas and side dishes.

When ordering, customers will be asked if they would like to “take the español challenge” to receive the Duo discount.

“The challenge is a single speech-based question drawn from Duolingo’s extensive curriculum,” the company said in a statement. “Answer the question by simply speaking, and the built-in microphone will assess your answer.”

The discount will change frequently and could offer 10% or 20% off a meal, free taco, free chips or other rewards, the company said.

No, food will not be cooked by the app’s task-oriented owl mascot, Duo.

The restaurant, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duolingo, will be led by chef Marcella Ogrodnik, who returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh in 2019 after working in restaurants in New York, Spain and California.

“Its menu combines inspiration from traditional Mexican techniques with ingredients from Pennsylvania,” the company said.

Duolingo provided initial capital and initial operating costs for Ogrodnik to run the restaurant.

Duolingo, which was founded in 2012, is a publicly traded company. It had 2.5 million paid subscribers at the end of last year, a 56% increase over the previous year. More than 42 million people use the app every month, which offers lessons in 19 different languages.

Duo’s Taqueria take-out window will operate for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. The company said it has no plans to open any other restaurants beyond the single location.

Bumble Brew, a cafe created in partnership with the dating app Bumble, opened late last year in Manhattan.

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