Sabor Latin Inspired Kitchen and Lounge, a new restaurant and sports lounge, is slated to open at 631 W. National Ave., the former home of Quimera Cocina Boricua.
The restaurant is owned by Chef Stephan Gonzales-Rosaria, along with partners Carmen Munoz and Jesse Fonseca, who also operate Blue Agave Restaurant and Lounge in Madison.
Gonzales-Rosaria was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where he operated a restaurant called the Light House before moving to Milwaukee 14 years ago. Here, he continued his craft working at numerous restaurants, most recently Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
"It’s always been a dream of mine to open my own restaurant here," he says, "and this partnership has allowed me to see my dream come true."
He says the restaurant, which could open as soon as early April, will offer a full menu of dishes, including items like Columbian empanadas, Puerto Rican mofongo and Argentinian churrasco steak, along with more Caribbean-inspired options like Cuban sandwiches.
The bar will feature more than 20 types of mojitos, margaritas and sangria, along with a signature pina colada that will be served inside a fresh pineapple with shaved coconut.
Gonzalez-Rosario says that the atmosphere in the restaurant and lounge will be intimate and sophisticated, featuring details like chandeliers and comfortable seating.
Meanwhile, the bar will have televisions broadcasting sports, including soccer, boxing, football and basketball. Gonzalez-Rosario says the venue will also offer a variety of entertainment, such as salsa dancers on Friday evenings.
"We’re so excited to bring this concept to people," he says. "There are no Latin-inspired sports bars here in town. And we’ll be the first to offer a true late-night menu that goes through bar time."
He says the partners contemplated locations in a variety of areas, including the East Side and Bay View before settling on the Walker’s Point location, a decision he says has particular significance.
"Jesse [Fonseca] grew up in the neighborhood," he says. "He knows so many people and business owners in the area, and he felt strongly about putting the restaurant in the community where he grew up.
Once open, Sabor will offer lunch, dinner and a late night menu seven days a week with hours from 11 a.m. to close.
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.