Brothers José and Roberto Nuñez opened La Pachanga Mexican Grill in mid-August at 2529 Post Road in Plover.
“We’re just here to give the people of Portage County an option,” said Roberto Nuñez.
He said the restaurant’s focus is on delivering consistently good Mexican food in a family atmosphere. “Being that it’s family run… we don’t look at you as a customer, we look at you as family since we are already family in here.”
The Nuñez’ brother-in-law Rafael Cabrera runs La Pachanga’s kitchen, and all three worked together previously at the Nunez’ uncles’ restaurants. “My brother and I came from California about six, maybe seven years ago… and we were working with my family out of Eau Claire. They own the Cancun Mexican Grills up there,” said Roberto. “We liked it so much that we often times wondered if we could do it on our own.”
He said his uncles had trained them in all aspects of the business, from washing dishes to managing employees, and were supportive of the idea. So he and his brother started searching for a place they could call their own.
A few leads fell through before they found a spot they were comfortable with. “My brother called, he said, ‘I just got back from a city called Plover, why don’t you go check it out?’” Roberto said they liked the traffic flow in front of the Plover location and got a good feeling from the landlord. “Then you start driving around and there are no Mexican restaurants in this part of town,” he said. “So we came and my uncle said, ‘Go for it.’”
The restaurant is in the old Tempura House location but it has undergone interior renovations to become a Mexican restaurant. “I laid all the tile, I painted all the walls, redid all the restrooms,” said Roberto. “You’ll step into a good environment.”
“The colors are pretty close to what you would see in a Mexican house,” he said. “The hand-carved chairs we got from my uncles… They’re unique and the responses of the people have been amazing. They love it.” He said the décor will continue to evolve as the business becomes more established.
Roberto said they also had help from local contractors in transforming the interior space. “I love to help local businesses, my family and I, we grew up with that,” he said, noting that in addition to margaritas and Mexican beer, La Pachanga offers Point and O’So beer at its bar.
La Pachanga’s extensive menu has a wide variety of offerings including standard Mexican fare such as nachos, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chimichangas and burritos, as well as some less typical items such as steaks, seafood, salads and vegetarian items.
“It’s authentic and we make it fresh on a daily basis,” said Nuñez. “The part of Mexico where we’re from is Michoacán, where the monarchs migrate to in the winter time. At one point the main source of income was pork… So my personal favorite and our favorite dishes here are our carnitas (seasoned pork chunks).”
The menu, said Roberto, is also evolving. He said they started offering fish tacos on Friday nights after several requests. “If I have the ingredients, I will make it for you,” said Roberto. “If you don’t see it on the menu, it doesn’t mean we don’t have it.”
Fans of spicy food will also need to make their desires known. “We don’t create our dishes spicy unless it’s on demand… When you want it spicy you get it spicy,” he said.
La Pachanga offers daily lunch and drink specials, carry-out and kid’s menus, and a private dining room available for special occasions.
The restaurant opens daily at 11 a.m., closing at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. on Sunday.