Papal visit resonates at Argentinian restaurant in Hartford

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HARTFORD -- You'll get a sense of the South at La Barra Grill on Zion Street -- tasting it through spiced-up meats and hearing it when soccer is on.

"We have people from Uruguay, South American countries. They have no place to come and enjoy the sport," said Pablo Cosma, La Barra's owner.

You'll really feel some Argentinian culture when Cosma discusses faith.

"If you are Catholic, this is something deep in the heart of everyone," he said, referencing a sizzling topic lately: Pope Francis.

"I'm really not familiar with the politicians, but I've seen the people behind the Pope crying and that made me feel emotion," he said of the pontiff's address to Congress on Thursday.

Cosma said the papal U.S. visit brings back fond memories from the restaurateur's younger years in Latin America.

"I was also with John Paul II [when] he was visiting also in Argentina ... I can feel what these people feel right now and imagine to be near to a big person or big angel," said Cosma, explaining how it feels now to watch media coverage of the pontiff in Washington.

The magic Cosma describes is even deeper for some of his customers.

"More pride for the Pope, yea" said  Eugino Diaz, originally from Argentina.

Diaz likes that Francis is from his old country and is now visiting his new one.

"[I've been] following  since the first day he came to the United States. I love it," said Diaz.

He and Cosma hope, like Argentina's famous meats and soccer players, that Pope Francis' reputation grows globally.

"He comes from South America and he does the best for the people of South America and he tries to do the best for the world," Diaz said.

Cosma added, "I hope this gets some results not only in the United States but all over the world."