AP NEWS

Jose’s Mexican restaurant expands to Lake Delton

May 11, 2018

LAKE DELTON — A popular Baraboo restaurant has expanded, bringing a taste of Mexico to the Wisconsin Dells area.

On May 4, Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant opened its third location at the former site of the R Place eatery on Wisconsin Dells Parkway. Featuring murals depicting owner Jose Vera’s hometown and vintage photos of Dells attractions, it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.

“I really brought a little bit of Mexico to Wisconsin Dells,” Vera said. “We put a lot of heart into what we do.”

Early response has been so strong, he regrets opening on the eve of Cinco de Mayo. Curious crowds made for long waits last weekend. Vera said kinks have been worked out, and upgrades to the kitchen will allow Jose’s to keep up during rush periods.

“Now we’re prepared; we’re doing a lot better,” he said.

Jose’s got its start on Baraboo’s east side in 2011 and a year later spawned a second restaurant in Adams. Featuring a wide-ranging menu of affordable entrees — not to mention oversized margaritas — Jose’s has become a draw. The Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce named Jose’s its 2015 business of the year.

Vera said he has wanted to enter the Dells market for four years, and pounced when R Place closed in Lake Delton. He’s renting the building from Andy Waterman.

“I’ve always wanted to be here,” Vera said. “I went for it.”

Village Coordinator Kay Mackesey said village tourism leaders were elated to welcome Jose’s. “This authentic Mexican eatery adds to the wonderful mix of restaurants we currently offer our residents and visitors,” she said.

Transforming the restaurant building meant building tables, installing a new floor and putting in a bar inlaid with photos of local scenes. Jose’s features indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a screened-in, three-season patio.

The restaurant lies at the site of the Wonder Spot, a longtime tourist attraction that advertised itself as a place where the laws of gravity didn’t apply. It closed in 2006. Vera hopes to make the spot a draw again.

Jose’s will employ a staff of 25-30. Training is ongoing. While the kitchen is a work in progress, Vera said he’s pleased with the restaurant’s bustling start.

“We’re doing what we can for now,” he said. “We’ve been really busy.”

Vera hopes summer tourists will be as curious to check out the new restaurant as locals have been.

“I saw an opportunity here,” Vera said. “I’m tired, but we’re doing well.”