Everything you need to know about the Taqueria “español challenge” and how to take advantage of the offers


When it comes to apps for learning new languages, Duolingo is the undisputed market leader. The free language-learning app has seen a huge influx of new users during the pandemic, as people suddenly found themselves with plenty of free time. The app is renowned for its menacing green owl mascot that is not above issuing life-threatening reminders if one misses a day of class.

The platform has designed a unique way to help users practice their Spanish, which is the top choice among foreign languages ​​to learn in the United States. In a completely unprecedented move for language-learning apps, Duolingo is opening its own restaurant, Duo’s Taqueria, in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, right next to its headquarters.

La Taqueria de Duolingo offers customers a special “español challenge” for discounts

Duolingo’s restaurant “with an educational component” will begin as a takeout-only window at 5900 Penn Avenue beginning in mid-June. However, they plan to expand the 2,580 square foot space into a full-fledged restaurant that can seat 100 people by 2023. The food joint will be operational from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Duo’s Taqueria will be headed by Pittsburgh-born chef Marcella Ogrodnik. Ogrodnik’s menu will combine “inspiration from traditional Mexican techniques with ingredients from Pennsylvania,” according to a company statement.

The restaurant will feature a variety of Mexico City-inspired street tacos, made with fresh homemade nixtamal tortillas. Topping options include chorizo, adobo-marinated pork, brisket, and tripe, plus a vegan alternative. Side dishes will include agua frescas, beans, guac, salsas, and more.

Taqueria de Duo will serve Mexican town-inspired street tacos in a variety of meat and vegan flavors (Image via Taqueria de Duo)
Duo’s Taqueria will serve Mexican city-inspired street tacos in a variety of meat and vegan flavors (Image via Duo’s Taqueria)

Explaining the app’s unexpected venture into the restaurant industry, Charlie Barber, Duolingo’s Senior Experience Designer, said:

“Duolingo is a Pittsburgh company, so we wanted to give back to our city with amazing food and discounts to show people that learning a new language can be fun and rewarding.”

How do you take advantage of these discounts, you ask? This is where Duo’s Taqueria returns to its language learning roots. Once customers have placed their order, they have the opportunity to participate in the establishment’s special “défi español” so that they can try to unlock discounts and other offers.

It might seem daunting, given his affiliation with the ruthless green owl mascot, but the challenge isn’t that difficult.

A statement from the brand demystified how the challenge works:

“The challenge consists of a single speech-based question taken from Duolingo’s extensive curriculum. Answer the question by simply speaking, and the built-in microphone will gauge your answer.

Ogrodnick added his own comments on this Spanish learning challenge:

“It’s a great way to inspire someone to step out of their comfort zone and learn a little about speaking another language.”

If customers complete the challenge, they will be eligible for discounts ranging from 10% to 20% off their meal or a free menu item like tacos or fries. The goal of having a variety of offers is to encourage everyone to complete the “español challenge” multiple times to take advantage of the different incentives.

Edited by Mohini Banerjee

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