Cafe La Paloma, 606 S. 5th St., quietly reopened this week after it closed in April.
The new operator, Sandy Rivas, is leasing the space from Jose Chavez who owns the building and originally opened the Mexican restaurant and bar last year.
Chavez is still promoting and consulting for the restaurant, but he decided to leave daily management to focus on his art and music.
For now, Rivas is keeping the space and menu similar to what it was while under Chavez’s direction. There is less art on the walls than before, but Rivas says she is still looking for the right decor from local artists with a Latin flavor. There is also a mammoth paper maché "monster" in the space now.
The patio and the restrooms have been repainted and Rivas has more decor plans in the works.
Dishes are now made with all grass-fed meat and some local produce, in the future, with include entirely local produce. The cafe will also host live music occasionally.
During my visit, I sampled a few of the sauces, guac and chips (guacamole is now made table side), tortilla soup and flan, all of which were the same high quality of the Paloma past. The kitchen is now run by Rivas’ husband, Ricky.
"We are in the process of getting feedback from customers and deciding exactly where we want to go with the menu," says Rivas, who has lived in Milwaukee her entire life.
Cafe La Paloma has a new margarita menu which includes classic blends along with more daring versions like a spicy mango and a horchatita, made with RumChata.
"Some are twists on old favorites," says Rivas.
Cafe La Paloma – both the restaurant and patio – is open every day from 11 a.m to 9 p.m.
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