Sophie Bolich

Restaurant Jerez Opens in Walker’s Point

New Mexican restaurant aims to change narrative for Walker's Point building.

By - Jan 10th, 2023 10:57 am
Site of Restaurant Jerez, 828 S. 1st St. Photo taken Jan. 9, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Restaurant Jerez, 828 S. 1st St. Photo taken Jan. 9, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Residents of Walker’s Point may recognize the building at 828 S. 1st St. as the home of the VIP Lounge, a troubled nightclub that flouted the city’s COVID-19 requirements and was the site of several shootings before surrendering its license in late 2021.

In its departure, the former nightclub left behind a run-down building, blackout windows and another vacant storefront on the bustling S. 1st Street thoroughfare. But where others saw a neighborhood blight, Platon Peña Delgado saw an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong family dream while bringing new life to the neglected building.

After months of hard work, Peña Delgado, along with his wife and co-owner, Martha Acosta Ramirez, and their children, opened Restaurant Jerez, a Mexican eatery specializing in seafood dishes.

The lunch-and-dinner restaurant began its soft opening in late 2022, welcoming guests into its newly-renovated and spacious dining room.

“It’s always been a dream of our family to own a restaurant,” said Alberto Peña, the owner’s son. “Obviously, the past owners had a bad reputation,” he said, explaining that the family is on a mission to restore the community’s trust.

“We’re just here to improve the neighborhood. It’s going to be good service, good quality, making sure our customers are being treated well and they’re respected.”

The family met with nearby business owners to share the goals of the business and establish relationships in the community.

Leading up to its opening, the 7,971-square-foot restaurant got a brand new floor, fresh paint and lighting courtesy of Peña Delgado, who is also an electrician and owner of Peña Electric.

The new owners also removed the heavy black window coverings, revealing the restaurant’s bright and welcoming interior to passersby.

The completed restaurant is orderly and spacious, with a handful of tables scattered throughout the main dining room, which features a cheerful Corona banner. Additional seating is available at the bar and in a back dining room. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio for the milder months.

The seafood-focused menu features a wide variety of soups, shrimp, tilapia, mojarra, red snapper (huachinango), frog legs, tacos and platos tradicionales including fajitas, carne asada a la zamora and tampiqueña de res. The restaurant also has an alcohol license, and offers several cocktails as well as beer, wine and seltzers.

Although the restaurant is still in its early days, the family is already looking ahead to bigger goals.

“My mom and dad grew up in a very poor place in Mexico,” said Peña, who is currently attending Cardinal Stritch University, but stops by often to lend a hand where needed at the restaurant.

“The restaurant is an opportunity for a little bit bigger source of income to be able to see their kids go to college and have a successful life, and hopefully in the future to keep running this business and make it a family franchise.”

Restaurant Jerez is the latest addition to a growing commercial district near the intersection of S. 1st Street and E. National Avenue in Walker’s Point, including popular nearby bars and restaurants such as D.I.X.La MerendaFat Daddy’s and Steny’s Tavern & Grill.

Restaurant Jerez is expected to be open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Phone orders can be placed at 414-509-5129.


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