Plans are in the works for a new second location for Paloma Taco + Tequila, the popular West Side taqueria at 5419 W. North Ave.
Owner Pattie Ford, who opened the Washington Heights restaurant in July of 2020, is currently working out the details for the new restaurant, which will be located in a 2300 square foot retail space on the southern end of the KinetiK Apartments at 2154 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
And, as it sounds, the new taqueria – which will showcase an outdoor patio adjacent to the developing Zillman Park – will be the perfect spot to sit back with a plate of tacos and a margarita on a hot summer afternoon.
A funky little taco shack in the BV
After the incredible reception she received for the West Side taqueria – where crowds line the sidewalk patio daily from lunch well past the dinner hour – Ford says she’s very much looking forward to the expansion, which will showcase a larger kitchen, offering increased flexibility and efficiency for kitchen prep.
“The place is going to be beautiful,” says Ford. “It’s all windows. I love plants and can’t wait for all of that natural light.”
THREE SIXTY, who also designed and built out the Paloma on North Avenue will head up the design and build-out of the interior for the Bay View restaurant, which Ford says will have a similar look and feel to the West Side location.
“The goal is to capture the aesthetic of a taco shack on the side of the road,” she says.
That means bright, inviting swaths of color on the walls, plenty of texture and unique finishes that reflect a subtle dove motif (Paloma means dove in Spanish). On North Avenue that comes in the form of the layered feather shapes that decorate the front of the bar. Guests can also expect floral table coverings that offer that classic look of the bright oilcloth found in restaurants across Mexico. Ford says there will also be accordion-style glass doors on the patio side of the restaurant, which can be opened up on great weather days.
But Ford says she’s approached the design of the Bay View restaurant differently than she did on her first go-round.
“With the first restaurant, I did everything myself,” she says. “But with the second location I’m really involving my upper management in the decision-making process.”
For example, Kaylie Madson, who heads up the bar at Paloma assisted in designing the bar for the new space. Chef Bernard Fanning assisted with designing the kitchen. And Ford says that the new location, which will be operated largely by Sous Chef Dylan Hetzal and Madson, will also allow her to offer profit sharing with her management team, including managers Jeanne Hill and Virginia Fox, who Ford credits with contributing to the evolution and success of Paloma on North Avenue.
On the menu
Ford says the menu will be largely the same at the new Bay View location, at least at first. Guests can expect favorite items, including snacks like Paloma Hot Chips (house chips topped with onions, cilantro, microgreens, radishes and serrano crema) and loaded frites to tacos, tostadas, burritos and “taco pockets” (their take on the infamous crunch wrap). Like the current menu, Paloma Bay View will also showcase a good number of vegetarian and vegan options as well.
Bay View guests will also be treated to extended brunch service, which will be offered Friday through Tuesday.
“I want to show service industry folks some love,” she says. “And we also want to be able to fill the void on Tuesdays when a lot of Mexican restaurants in the area are closed.”
Ford says the restaurant will start off deliberately with a more basic menu. “We’ll do what we do and we’ll do it well,” she says. “And then we’ll branch out from there.
Eventually, she says there will be menu additions, including enchiladas, an item they haven’t had the capacity to offer in the past.
“I love them, but I’m frequently disappointed, usually by the flavor in the meat. So, we’re working out recipes right now for really flavorful enchiladas that don’t need to be doused in hot sauce to taste good.”
Bay View will also showcase an expanded bar program, which will feature both housemade craft cocktails and zero-proof offerings, many made with house syrups and infusions. Ford says she’d also love to start a tequila “passport program” of sorts. “I’d love to push people to expand their knowledge and tastebuds,” she says.
Ford says she hopes to open the new taqueria sometime during the first quarter of 2024. “We’d love to get our feet wet while it’s still cool outside,” she says, “So we’ll have our stride before patio season hits."
Once open, Paloma Taco + Tequila in Bay View will be open seven days a week. Tentative hours will be Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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.