By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Sep 01, 2016 at 3:01 PM

East Siders have about a week to fit in a last visit to Van Buren’s Whiskey Bar & Grill at 1682 N. Van Buren St., which will remain open through Saturday, Sept. 10.

The bar and restaurant is in the midst of a fairly extensive remodel, which will transform the space into a tropical Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant that will be called Mangos Cafe East.

The change comes thanks to a new partnership between Van Buren’s Francesco and Sergio Sandino, Edwin Ordonez of La Caribena Restaurant, Greg Kieckbusch of Mangos on National and Alan Herrera of Nelson Schmidt.

The concept, which will incorporate elements of Floridian, Caribbean and Dominican fare along with a tiki theme, will be a second location for Mangos, the night club and tiki bar restaurant concept located at 721 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr.

"The taco concept has really taken off," notes Kieckbusch, who notes that Mangos has been selling out of its popular fare at festivals all summer, including Taco Fest and the East Side’s popular Brady Street Festival.

The new location, he says, will expand the Mangos brand by creating a bar and restaurant space that eliminates the club atmosphere to focus on the food and beverage program.

"When we opened Mangos, we were really looking to recreate Miami-style night life," he notes. "And here we’re pulling those elements in, combining the tiki concept with great Florida style tacos."

The remodel will update the space to include tiki-style elements, including thatching around the bar, as well as a color scheme that incorporates turquoise, brown and mustard hues. Although the central bar will remain, the kitchen space has been walled in and updated, and new seating will include high top tables, as well as new booths in the rear of the restaurant.

The menu will incorporate familiar Mangos items, including Dominican empanadas, guacamole and queso blanco along with a large taco selection including avocado steak, ancho chipotle chicken, fried shrimp, blackened tilapia, Asian and Hawaiian pork, and a number of new additions. Mangos Cafe East will also serve their popular wings, served up with a choice of sauces including pineapple, Hawaiian BBQ, garlic parmesan, Bacon BBQ, mild buffalo, Jack Daniels BBQ, mango habanero, red hot, spicy BBQ and diablo sauce.

Meanwhile, the bar will serve up tropical concoctions including Mai Tais, punch and a variety of frozen margaritas, daiquiris and coladas.

"There’s really nothing like this on this side of town," notes Herrera. "So we’re really looking forward to introducing people to a space where they can escape the elements and enjoy something new and different."

Mangos Cafe East is expected to open by the end of September. Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details as they are available.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.