About 10 years ago, on a trip to Colorado, Luis Suarez’ truck broke down. He and his wife were hungry, so the first thing they did was go to the store to buy some tomatoes, onions and peppers to make a salsa. This improvised salsa recipe is the same they use now in their restaurant in the Colonial Plaza Shopping Center called 3 Cuisines.
The newcomer to downtown Menomonee Falls features Mexican, Italian and American food for lunch and dinner. It opened its doors on February and had its official grand opening at the end of March.
While the restaurant may be new, Suarez isn’t new to the business. He has worked in restaurants his entire life, starting as a four-year-old in his father’s business. From there he moved on to working as a line cook and then eventually as a chef.
His family also had a restaurant in Chicago with multiple types of cuisines. He said he chose to open a new restaurant in Menomonee Falls because he saw a market for a place with mid-range pricing and a variety of dishes.
“The most popular here is the smoked brisket and the chalupas,” he said. “We serve a lot of chalupas. And pasta is one of the bigger sellers: lobster ravioli, four cheese ravioli with sage butter. We have a lot of different options for Mexican, Italian and American, but those are the killers.”
He also makes a number of seafood dishes, including salmon, tilapia and catfish. The full menu and bar are available every day from 11a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday nights are Mariachi Night with live music.
Twelve people work at the restaurant, including Suarez’ wife, two sons, and daughter, Claudia, who has worked in restaurants with her father for the past eight years. She said that she’d like to continue in the restaurant business.
“We want to start doing a chain,” Claudia said. “We are a big family, so with time we were hoping to do as my father does. He’s been in the restaurant business. He’s opened now finally his own, so I eventually want to do the same thing.”
Suarez said that he had an easier time opening this restaurant than he did with previous ones, waiting only about a week to get the necessary permits instead of a few months as he says he did in Pewaukee.
The Village Centre Business Improvement District has been working to enhance the downtown area for businesses in a number of ways. A village grant has been available since November 2010 to help businesses fix up the exteriors of their buildings.
“A lot have taken advantage of this,” Barb Watters, the Village Centre manager, said in a phone interview. “They’ve gotten new windows, doors, awnings, paint.”
Watters said that this is the second year for the semi-annual “Downtown Experience” event, which highlights four downtown restaurants in one evening. On May 12, four restaurants on Appleton Avenue will be featured, including 3 Cuisines.