Five Milwaukee Mexican restaurants I miss
Bienvenidos a Mexican Dining Week on OnMilwaukee.com. This week, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we're spicing things up with daily articles about Mexican restaurants, foods, drinks, sweets and more. Enjoy a week of sizzling stories that will leave you craving Milwaukee's Latin offerings. Olé!
We have stupendous Mexican restaurants in this city, and I frequent many of them often. However, there are a handful of south-of-the-border eateries that I wish were still around. Some of these places, I miss the food, but in most cases, I miss the ambiance and the time in my life when I went there.
Five Milwaukee Mexican restaurants I miss (in no particular order):
1. Acapulco Lounge. This was "the other Conejito's" for me. It was a greasy spoon Mexican diner formerly at 606 W. National Ave. I ate a couple of truly bad meals here and yet, some really delicious bartime beer-soakers as well. It was cozy, authentic and dirt cheap. Often I had to use my iffy Spanish to order. Acapulco was an experience.
2. El Condor. I always liked the "walk down" aspect of this basement-level Mexican food restaurant on Downer Avenue (below what is now Cafe Hollander). I remember enjoying the food both in the restaurant and the to-go tacos from the El Condor push cart. I was such a fan of the guacamole, in fact, that I got the recipe after they closed.
3. Pedrano's. The restaurant, which is now Kafe Kultura, always surprised me that it wasn't more popular considering it was so close to other extremely popular Mexican eateries like Conejito's, La Perla, La Fuente and Botana's. The food was good and the lunch specials were even better. The owners, however, were older and just couldn't promote what they had.
4. Alamo Cantina. This walk-up counter in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee union did not serve excellent food, and yet, I ate about 2,000 of the super burritos anyway. What they did offer was cheap, filling food that I will always have a fondness for because it reminds me of the good ol' college days as well as a time before chain restaurants took over the union. (Not that I don't like the occasional seven-layer burrito, because I do, but still ...)
5. Dos Banditos. My dad lived in Brown Deer for a couple of decades, so Dos Banditos, 5832 N. Green Bay Rd., was our go-to spot to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and good report cards. I remember the salsa being really chunky and delicious. My dad was so fond of the place, he called it "Dos." Even after he moved to the East Side, we went back a few times for old times' sake. I guess my pop was just as nostalgic about his Mexican food as I am.
Nothing comes CLOSE to the salsa at Acapulco. Wow, do I miss that stuff. Pedrano's was great. Fun owners, was always surprised how empty it was.
Nacho Mama. Whats better then them a small person walking around with Chips and Salsa in there Sombrero!
Jeff | May 2, 2012 at 9:02 a.m. (report)
El Rey Sol on Forest Home was king: A sit-down restaurant like you find in middle-class Mexico City neighborhoods, with food you eat with a knife and fork. There's more to Mexican food than tacos and tortas! Antigua on Burnham, which is owned by members of the same family, is good but not quite the same.
I concur with Acapulco. Best hangover cure EVER were the refried beans, chips and salsa. I was recently delighted to learn that one of the cooks is now running the kitchen at Romines on s 27th street. It's a reasonable facsimile of Acapulco's fare, but they totally took all the kick out of that salsa for all the crackers in Greenfield.
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