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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, July 25, 2014

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In Dining Blogs

The main dining area is still a work in progress. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

Owner Jose Chavez is ready to go as soon as he gets the necessary permits. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

Chavez on the patio. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

A lot of the art is Day of the Dead themed. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

The plates, like the rest of the cafe, are loaded with color. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

Chavez carefully arranged all of the art himself. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

"In Mexico, we don't waste anything," says Chavez. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

The stained glass was already in the space. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

The cafe features unique Mexican art. No sombreros on these walls. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

In Dining Blogs

The building adds vibrancy to the north end of Fifth Street. (PHOTO: Royal Brevväxling )

First look: Cafe La Paloma


Cafe La Paloma, 606 S. 5th St., will open in a week to 10 days, according to the owner, Jose Chavez, who purchased the building in 1997. He plans to host a grand opening in about three weeks.

Chavez is waiting for final inspections and permits to get issued. Otherwise, he is ready to go.

Cafe La Paloma has a very different look and feel than the other Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. The exterior and the interior of the building is painted a cheerful orange and yellow with bright blue highlights on the inside.

The cafe's collection of Mexican art is one of its main strengths. All of the art is from Chavez's personal collection or pieces he created himself.

"I am finding art I didn't know that I had," says Chavez.

The art is a mix of Mexican masks, Day Of The Dead skulls, religious art and plein air paintings including one of Chavez's native city, Zacapu. It is very carefully and thoughtfully arranged. Chavez is also building an altar.

Cafe La Paloma can seat about 100 people indoors and another 100 on the patio, which is also brightly and attractively painted. It is adorned with large cans filled with flowers.

"In Mexico, we don't waste anything. If you have an empty can, you put flowers in it," says Chavez.

The menu will not focus on any one region in Mexico. It will be a mix of many different cuisines along with Chavez's family recipes. Items will include classic dishes like enchiladas, guacamole, nachos and burritos, to a selection of moles, chile rellenos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches / subs), soups, seafood, traditional street food, empanadas, desserts and a taqueria.

Nightly entree specials will also be available.

"We are focusing on good quality and consistency," he says.

There is also a full bar, with a colorful bar top mosaic created by Chavez and local artist Leanne Wooten.

Made-from-scratch and mix-made margaritas will be available from the bar, along with pina coladas, Bloody Marys, numerous tequilas, mezcal and a large selection of Mexican beer.

Chavez is planning to finish the lower level space which will then be available to rent for special events. He also plans to connect with the other restaurant owners in the neighborhood to organize a Cinco de Mayo festival.

Cafe La Paloma has a parking lot across the street and one block to the north. Valet parking will also be available.

"I am very happy to create jobs in the neighborhood," says Chavez.


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