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The Swedes Bar & Bistro, a long time staple in Puerto Vallarta’s restaurant scene since October, 2009, has a new owner, with restaurant industry veteran Christopher Maluck recently taking over as its new owner.
Maluck is a Denver, Colorado native and has been working in hospitality since he was a young child.
“My family has owned and developed a chain of delicatessens, a jazz club, a steakhouse and other efforts,” he said. “When I left college, I went to work for Marriott and honed my skills on a larger scale but ultimately returned to independent restaurants. I left restaurants for a few years to work in LGBTQ community non-profits producing events from grass roots house parties to large scale fundraisers with celebrity talent.”
His first visit to Puerto Vallarta was when he was only ten-years-old. Even at that young age he fell in love with the city and its charm.
“I first visited PV with my family in 1978 when I was 10-years-old. I fell in love with it then, as most visitors do. It was a very different vibe back then as most international tourism was focused on Acapulco. The hotel where we stayed was the largest at the time, the El Camino Real which is now the Hyatt Ziva,” he explained. “As an adult I returned to PV in the late 90’s and have been an annual or semi annual visitor until 2020 when I moved here full-time just as COVID was starting.”
About The Swedes
The Swedes was founded by Morgan Granander along with his then partner in 2009. The building it is in was originally a two-story residence that sits on the corner of Olas Atlas and Púlpito.
Morgan and his partner fell in love with Puerto Vallarta and were seeking a way to sustain themselves to be able to live in paradise. They slowly converted the residence to a small bar and then a restaurant during the early years. Through hurricanes, economic downturns and even COVID, Morgan’s persistence – along with the support of dedicated staff and customers he cultivated – has helped The Swedes become a staple in the Vallarta community.
In 2021 Granander decided he wanted to sell the restaurant. One of his many passions is judging (and showing) dogs for shows all over Europe.
“Morgan had the desire to return to his passion for dogs and other ventures, Maluck explained. “The Swedes was and is a going concern with a team of people relying on it for their livelihood. In mid-2021 I received a text from Morgan asking if I would have any interest in buying The Swedes as he was wanting to grow and explore other interests. He did not put the business on the market and approached me knowing my style and experience had the potential to grow the business. In addition, he did not want someone that would close or rebrand the business but continue to serve the community and support the incredible team that is the heartbeat of the business.”
With that simple text message Christopher knew his answer would be “yes” and he set forth a plan to purchase The Swedes and continue the traditions that Morgan had started.
“I am a long-time friend of Morgan,” he said. “As a regular visitor to PV over the years, we forged a friendship as brothers in hospitality, serving the LGBTQIA+ community. Having a restaurant in the US, I have been able to source unique and authentic Swedish ingredients for The Swedes and shuttle them here during my travels. On numerous occasions he would ask me to assist or watch over the restaurant in his absence. I moved here full-time in 2020 and this opportunity felt like a very natural progression of my experience here.”
The new owner said he’s excited to be able to continue the traditions of The Swedes. And while he does have some changes in the works, he said they will be subtle and balanced. He went on to say that he was looking forward to being active in the local LGBTQ+ community not only as a business owner but a resident.
Many changes have already been implemented, invisible to the customer but important for business operations, as he’s made upgrades in technology and infrastructure. Visible changes that have occurred included upgraded textiles and upholstery that help embrace and reinforce the casual Scandinavian atmosphere.
A new wine list has been introduced – , a curated selection of 24 wines from around the world, with half of them available by the glass.
“We have worked with local importers to source unique selections that offer above average wines at approachable prices,” he added.
He’s also adding more craft cocktails, and expanding the bar experience. The Swedes has long been known for its martini options, and Maluck said he is growing the bar menu to offer more options for customers.
“Tens of thousands of visitors around the world have visited The Swedes over the last 13 years and have shared it with their friends,” he explained. “I look forward to balancing just enough change with just enough of the past to provide a unique but familiar experience to our guests. I am thrilled to continue serving the LGBTQIA+ community on a broader scale as Puerto Vallarta continues to grow as a global vacation destination.”
He went on to say that it was his belief that everyone’s experience when visiting Puerto Vallarta was personal and unique – almost like a magical discovery. He wants to help contribute to those unique experiences.
“What I love most about PV is that everyone that visits has a unique experience. Each person feels a sense of discovery that is magical,” he explained. “When talking about it with friends, everyone shares what they believe is a secret. “You have to visit this market” or “you must eat at this restaurant I found.” The PV experience is profoundly personal for each individual.”
Information to Know:
General Manager & Sommelier:
Pulpito 154 at Olas Altas
+52 322 223 2353
5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily