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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Mango's is a dream come true for Edwin Ordonez.
Mango's is a dream come true for Edwin Ordonez.
Much of the space is Caribbean themed, but there's also a tiki lounge, dance floor, VIP area and more.
Much of the space is Caribbean themed, but there's also a tiki lounge, dance floor, VIP area and more.
"We have a crazy lighting system inside and out," says Ordonez.
"We have a crazy lighting system inside and out," says Ordonez.

Mango's combines night club, tiki lounge, sports bar and Caribbean restaurant

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

Seven months ago, I visited a Puerto Rican restaurant called La Caribeña, 1704 S. Pearl St., because it was new and generating a positive buzz.

While there, I met co-owner Edwin Ordonez, who shared information about his interesting and challenging past, the story of how his restaurant evolved and the fact he wanted to someday open a much larger restaurant, sports bar and nightclub.

Tonight, Ordonez – along with his two business partners – will open Mango’s Tropical Bar & Grill, 721 S. Cesar Chavez Dr.

"This will be the most unique sports club and night club in the city," says Ordonez. "We want to bring something new to Milwaukee."

Ordonez owns the business with Frank Sandino, who also owns Milwaukee's Bamboo Lounge, and Greg Kieckbusch, who formerly managed Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants and created much of the Mango’s menu.

Mango’s is based on a Florida establishment of the same name. It’s located inside a massive space featuring two stories and three bars, each with a different theme (including a tiki lounge). The interior is equipped with a full kitchen, a small casino, "video walls," murals and more.

The large, free parking lot in front of the club will definitely be an asset.

Mango’s menu features "bar food with a tropical twist." Highlights include wings, Caribbean shish-ka-bobs and "Juicy Lucy" burgers, which are hamburgers stuffed with melted cheese.

There’s also a menu item called "The Tsunami" – a one-pound cheese-stuffed burger topped with two fried eggs, pork shoulder, avocado and more.

"Anyone who can eat it in under 15 minutes gets it free," says Ordonez.

Ordonez hopes Mango’s will serve as an enterta…

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Shawn Hutchens will add Riverwest Pizza to his repertoire of Milwaukee-based businesses.
Shawn Hutchens will add Riverwest Pizza to his repertoire of Milwaukee-based businesses.

Green Fields owner plans Riverwest Pizza

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

Shawn Hutchens, owner of Green Fields and Greenfields on Brady, purchased the old Cafe Vocar building, 932 E. Wright St., a couple of weeks ago and plans to open Riverwest Pizza.

"My partners and I have diligently been working on getting Riverwest Pizza off the ground," says Hutchens. "We have put together an amazing team that we know will impress the residents of Riverwest and surrounding communities."

Hutchens says he hopes to open in late fall or early winter, but the space will undergo a major remodeling job first.

"We are committed to opening our doors when we can get as close to perfect as perfect can be," he says.

According to Hutchens, the main focus will be pizza but the menu will also feature appetizers, sandwiches, salads as well as a full bar with a focus on Wisconsin beers.

This is a good fit for the neighborhood, which recently lost Antonio's Pizza as well as Albanese's – now Riverwest Filling Station– years ago. Long-time residents of the area might also remember the Riverwest-based Italian restaurant / pizza joint Roseanne's.

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.com for more information as it is available.

Ryan Adams wore his own concert T-shirt during tonight's show. How do we feel about that?
Ryan Adams wore his own concert T-shirt during tonight's show. How do we feel about that? (Photo: Sara Bill)

Adams delivers an energetic and honest performance

I admit it, even though I had read the set lists from recent concerts and didn’t see my favorite Ryan Adams song, I still hoped Adams would play "Halloweenhead" during his almost sold-out show tonight at the Riverside.

But even though it is one of my favorite Adams songs – laced with memory and nostalgia for me as well as a seasonally appropriate tune being that it’s only two weeks before All Hallows Eve – he didn’t play it.

Not even when fans – other than myself – yelled out for it.

"I don’t f*cking remember that song. You’re going to have to find a way to love me anyway," Adams said.

Such was the tone of Adams’ extraordinarily solid and heartfelt show tonight. Known as eccentric and erratic – in both good and not so good ways – the prolific North Carolinian continues to serve up a hearty slice of the very best in roots, folk, rock and Americana. But the beauty and the curse of Adams is you never know what you’re going to get.

Recent reviews cited Adams as overly chatty and reflective, but tonight, he was the opposite – at least for the first half. As the show rolled on, Adams became more interactive with fans – in part, because of the number of audience members who felt compelled to shout out song requests and love messages, as well as a heckle or two.

One audience member, even though the joke is long over, yelled out the song request "Summer Of ’69" – requesting Canadian pop singer Bryan Adams’ ‘80s hit.

Most Adams fans are aware of the long-ago concert when a fan requested the same song and Adams, allegedly, out of frustration by the name similarity joke, had the fan removed. Tonight, Adams both refuted the accuracy of that assertion but also refrained from playing "Run To You," a Bryan Adams song he performed at the tour's previous stop.

To determine why Ryan Adams would suddenly cover a Bryan Adams' song is sheer folly. But those of us who go there anyway might suggest it’s a way for him to shrug off things from …

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Hoffer's opened in 1973.
Hoffer's opened in 1973.

Hoffer's Tropic Life Pets will close after 41 years

After 41 years in business, Mike Hoffer will close Hoffer’s Tropic Life Pets, 7323 N. 76th St. Hoffer says it’s been a great run, but he’s ready to retire.

Although he would like to close by the end of the year, Hoffer says he will not do so until he can find homes for the hundreds of animals living in the shop.

"I have 400 fish tanks, 160 reptile enclosures with a couple hundred snakes, lizards and turtles in them," says Hoffer. "Plus lots of small animals – mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs. I’m desperate to find good home for all of them."

Plus, Hoffer's is housing 15 larger animals, including large lizards, snakes, tortoises and five alligators. (Alligators cannot be sold in the City of Milwaukee so they will, hopefully, find new homes in the Wisconsin Dells area.)

Currently, every animal and supply is 25 percent off.

Hoffer’s was particularly known for its kids birthday parties and annual Great Hamster Race.

As for the future, Hoffer says he plans to ride his Harley Davidson and spend time with his wife.

"She has a lot of stuff for me to do," says Hoffer. "I’ve been lucky. Some of my employees have been with me 28 to 30 years. The animals, my employees and my customers – I love ‘em all – they’ve stuck by me until the end."

Hamster, anyone?