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Mexican Riviera Since Q Real American Food’s closing, there’s been an empty storefront in Bay View (2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.). Oh, wait. Empty it isn’t. For weeks now, some folks have been working on a replacement for that space – Riviera Maya. The Mexican restaurant is a descendent of Xel-ha (2301 S. Howell Ave.), which […]

Mexican Riviera

Since Q Real American Food’s closing,
there’s been an empty storefront in Bay View (2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.). Oh,
wait. Empty it isn’t. For weeks now, some folks have been working on a
replacement for that space – Riviera Maya. The Mexican restaurant is a
descendent of Xel-ha (2301 S. Howell Ave.), which entered the ranks of
past tense-hood a few months ago. Gilbert Botello, who co-owned Xel-ha, is also
driving Riviera Maya, whose menu will mirror Xel-ha’s, only it’ll be bigger
(more vegetarian dishes and Margaritas). The new restaurant is also three times
the size of the shuttered place on Howell. So why isn’t it still called Xel-ha
(pronounced “Shell-ha”)? For the reason you’d expect, looking at the name: It
was hard to remember and say. Botello says he’ll keep the menu in the $7 to $10
range. It’ll likely be close to a month before it opens. 2258 S. Kinnickinnic
Ave., 294-4848.

A New Enchilada

Hector’s on State Street is a Wauwatosa
institution. A Hector’s enchilada – fillings from chicken mole to asparagus and
mushroom – is a lotta food. Well, the popular home of Hectorfest is expanding.
The second location is expected to open about a month from now (3040 S.
Delaware), and for the diehard Hector’s-goer, that is double the pleasure. The
Bay View menu will be pretty much a replica of State Street’s. Not familiar with
this restaurant? The food is relaxed Mexican/Southwestern: grilled shrimp and
avocado quesadillas, mountainous nachos, barbecued chicken burritos, beef
chimichangas and others. Bay View will be open for lunch and dinner. The phone
number (though it’s not hooked up yet): 483-5762.

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One Less Bowl

Now that Whole Foods Market lives on the
corner of Prospect and North, traffic is snarlier than ever. Soup Bros.
owner Richard Regner, whose mothership location is on Second and Florida in
Walker’s Point, recently closed his tiny East Side location – a very petite spot
on the southeast corner of Prospect and North. It might be a temporary close; it
might be permanent. The actual space needs some repairs, Regner says. Besides
that, it’s always faced a dearth of street parking, plus there’s no room inside
for seating. Regner started the soup-house craze in Milwaukee when he opened
Soup Bros. on Florida Street back in 1998.

Foam Reaction

Braise Cooking School’s “on the go” format
transports students to changing classrooms. Sometimes it’s a farm, like the
recent Feast at Fountain Prairie Inn in Fall River, Wisconsin. With winter
coming, chef/school founder David Swanson has some indoor venues planned. I like
the one on November 1 (6 p.m.; $55 per person) – it’s got “beer lover” written
all over it. “Beer: Beyond the Burger” is happening at Lakefront Brewery (1872
N. Commerce St.). Students will tour the brewery, taste Lakefront’s new products
and learn how to match beer with food and use beer in cooking. (My favorite
recipe is as follows: open bottle and pour into pint glass.) To register for the
Lakefront class, call 241-9577 or check out www.braiseculinaryschool.com.

Can’t get enough dining? I chat about restaurants every Friday with Jane
Matenaer and Kidd O’Shea on “The Mix.” Listen between 8 and 9 a.m. on October
20. That’s 99.1 WMYX-FM.

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E-mail your worst restaurant gripes to me at ann.christenson@milwaukeemagazine.com

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