It was August of 2016 when Gudelia Calva and her husband, Ricardo Morales, opened Al Pastor at 6200 W. Burnham St. And, over the past four years, they treated countless guests to scratch-made meals deftly prepared in their tiny kitchen.
But even more diners will soon have the opportunity to experience the flavors of Al Pastor as the restaurant prepares for a move into the former Farmer’s Wife restaurant at 6533 W. Mitchell St., just about one-third of a mile away.
In fact, if all goes well, diners could be able to enjoy a meal at Al Pastor on Mitchell Street as soon as mid-August.
Bigger & better
The move isn’t far; but it means significant upgrades for the small family run business, which will have the opportunity to graduate from its current 20-seat dining room to a significantly larger space.
"We are very excited," says Calva of the move, noting that additional space has been on the wish list for the restaurant for some time. "Our customers deserve a bigger place to enjoy their food."
Calva says they are currently awaiting occupancy for the new restaurant, which is under lease from building owner Mark Lutz. But they have already begun the transformation of the interior, adding bright, festive touches including walls painted in yellow and blue.
"We want it to look like a Mexican restaurant," she says. "So I want to make it look very authentic and classic."
Calva says they will also be saving up funds to add a nicely appointed patio outside the restaurant, a project they will likely undertake next year.
But, the new location will provide far more than spacious, well-decorated quarters. Calva says they also have plans to expand their current menu – which includes classic Mexican breakfast offerings, enchiladas, tacos and numerous New Mexican specialties including alambre (pictured) – to include additional appetizers, entrees and (for the first time) enhanced beverage offerings.
"A lot of our customers ask for margaritas or beer with their food," she says. "So we are happy that we will be able to get a liquor license. We will start small, just as we did here, with basic margaritas and Mexican beer and we will add new things as we go."
Calva says their preparations for the move will require the restaurant to shut down for about a week to accommodate the moving of kitchen equipment; but she says she hopes to keep the closure as brief as possible.
"We do not want to keep our regular guests waiting, " she says. "We are very excited, and we want nothing more than to create an experience that will not disappoint our guests."
Al Pastor will be announcing the date for its temporary closure in the coming weeks. Diners can keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram feeds for details. You can also keep your eye on OnMilwaukee for additional details as they become available.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.