Sophie Bolich

Mexican Restaurant That Was Pandemic Casualty Reopening on Blue Mound Road

Fat Valdy's plans to reopen this summer with a new look, feel and menu.

By - May 3rd, 2024 02:10 pm
Site of future Fat Valdy's, 5108 W. Bluemound Rd. Photo taken May 3, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future Fat Valdy’s, 5108 W. Blue Mound Rd. Photo taken May 3, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

After a four-year absence, Fat Valdy’s plans to reopen this summer with a modern ambience, revamped menu and fresh approach to Mexican cuisine.

The restaurant, 5108 W. Blue Mound Rd., closed in fall 2020 amid the pandemic. It was briefly replaced by Caliente Latin Kitchen & Rum , which opened in early 2021. The building has been vacant for more than a year.

Upon its return to service, Fat Valdy’s aims to lean into authenticity, offering handmade tortillas, arepas, gorditas and huaraches, as well as fresh-sliced tacos de pastor.

“It’s going to be very traditional Mexican, as if you were eating at home,” said Patricia Ruiz-Cantu, who is partnering with Valdemar Escobar, the original owner of Fat Valdy’s, for the project.

The restaurant could reopen as soon as June, with plans to serve buffet-style brunch and lunch. In addition to more traditional dishes, customers can expect made-to-order eggs, omelets and pancakes, fresh juices and an oyster bar.

Escobar’s Fiesta Garibaldi Group owns a number of Milwaukee-area establishments including Fiesta Garibaldi, Asadero Fiesta Garibaldi, Fiesta Cafe, a La Michoacana franchise and several Chicken Palace restaurants in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.

He plans to incorporate elements from his existing businesses at the upcoming restaurant. That could include an in-house ice cream parlor, modeled after La Michoacana, and a michelada bar.

Fat Valdy’s, located immediately west of brunch restaurant Story Hill BKC, features a fenced-in outdoor patio along N. 51st Street. The outdoor space is slated to transform into a hub for open-air dining and entertainment in tandem with the restaurant’s reopening. Escobar said he also hopes to feature mariachi performances on the patio.

Ruiz-Cantu said the building, originally constructed in 1927, requires all new inspections and licensing before reopening. The owners also plan to make aesthetic upgrades, reimagining the space with a cleaner and more modern look.

The original Fat Valdy’s was a casualty of the pandemic, a demise shared by dozens of other establishments across the city. Ruiz-Cantu said she hopes to use the experience as a lesson.

“After COVID, a lot of businesses have struggled, and we have struggled, too,” she said. “But we want to make sure that we don’t take [for granted] the opportunity of people really going out and eating. That’s why we decided to do it a little different — more modern — so that it would not be so much overhead, and then just making it easier for people.”

Once open, the proposed hours of operation for Fat Valdy’s are 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily, according to a license application.

A liquor license is pending before the Milwaukee Common Council.

Ruiz-Cantu also serves as a Democratic Party appointee to the Milwaukee Election Commission and as a community outreach coordinator for the City of Milwaukee.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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