By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 18, 2024 at 10:31 AM

After a brief soft opening, Paloma Taco + Tequila officially opens the doors to its second location today at 11 a.m. on the ground floor of the the KinetiK Apartments at 2154 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

Paloma exteriorX

Guests walking into the restaurant will find a bright convivial atmosphere with inviting swaths of color on the walls, plenty of texture and unique finishes – including the feathered look on the front of the bar – that reflect a subtle dove motif (Paloma means dove in Spanish). 

Wide shot of Paloma interiorX

Fruit is also a theme that runs throughout the decor (including the design in the restrooms).  It’s a nod to the infusions and fresh ingredients that are employed in both the bar and food offerings at the restaurant.

The restaurant's southerly wall also features a series of accordion-style doors which can be opened during great weather, allowing for both patio access and open air dining.

Southern wall of accordian windowsX

It takes a village

Behind the restaurant is industry veteran Pattie Ford who opened the first Paloma Tacos + Tequila in the Washington Heights Neighborhood in 2020. But Ford is quick to note that the Bay View location is the product of a culmination of not only her efforts, but those of others.

The design of the space was executed by Brian Polster and the crew at THREE SIXTY. Rich Severson of Oxeland Group handled the general contractor role. Meanwhile, Gina Gruenewald of New Land Enterprises played a key role in bringing Paloma to Bay View. Ford is also quick to mention the contributions of her team.

Kaylie Madson (who heads up the bar on North Ave.) assisted in designing the Bay View bar which Bar Manager Kat Poole will head up. Chef Bernard Fanning assisted with designing the new kitchen, which he will manage alongside Sous Chef Dylan Hetzal. Operations will be handled by managers Lori Nedset-Crawley and Virginia Fox, an alum from the North Avenue location.

“My entire staff has been amazing,” Ford says. “And they are a large part of the reason we’ve made it this far. I feel really great about the team we have. Sure, there are bound to be bumps in the road, but we’re moving forward and it’s an exciting time.

“I’m really happy to be in Bay View,” Ford adds. “We’re located in an up-and-coming little area there, so we’re excited to be a part of that as well.”

At the bar 

At Paloma Bay View, diners will find an expanded drink menu, featuring both housemade craft cocktails and zero-proof offerings, many made with house syrups and infusions. Selections include staples like the classic (namesake) Paloma, along with more adventurous quaffs like a refreshing Aperol Margarita, which fuses two popular summer drinks into one.

Aperol margarita and Paloma

In addition to cocktails, the bar showcases an impressive tequila selection (currently 75, including 7 mezcal), with opportunities to purchase tequila by the ounce.

“The goal is to allow people to try things that they might not have tried before and broaden their horizons. The goal is to keep on adding to the collection and bringing in new things to really showcase the diversity in flavor profiles that is out there.”

On the menu

Meanwhile, the menu showcases a range of Paloma favorites, including snacks like Paloma Hot Chips (house chips topped with onions, cilantro, microgreens, radishes and serrano crema) and eloté, along with tacos, tostadas and burritos. Plentiful vegetarian and vegan options are available throughout the menu.

Their tuna tostada features spiced, seared Ahi tuna, cucumber, jicama, queso fresco, Mexi-crema and a topping of radish sprouts from Milwaukee Microgreens ($7).

Tuna Tostada
Tuna Tostada

Those in the know will also be happy to see Paloma’s “taco pockets” on the menu. Their delicious take on the infamous crunch wrap features a toasted burrito-sized tortilla stuffed with a housemade tostada shell filled with Chihuahua cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, elote crema and gringo beef ($13).

Taco Pocket
Taco Pocket with carnitas

Guests can upgrade their protein to spicy chicken, carnitas, crispy brussels sprouts, beans and queso, chorizo, soy chorizo or crispy tofu for +$5; or carne asada or shrimp for +$6.

Die-hards will also note that the Game Day Nachos, formerly a “secret” menu item have been upgraded to a regular offering. And the full complement of housemade salsas is available upon request. Varieties include (mild verde, medium, mango habanero, ghost pepper and the very spicy and spicily named “Demon Semen”).

Salsas (mildest at bottom, hottest on top)

New items include the Smash Patty taco, a toasted flour tortilla filled with a fresh quarter-pound beef smash-style burger, melted cheese, roasted tomato, shredded lettuce and housemade Mexi-crema ($9; can be made vegetarian or vegan for +$2). 

Tacos (pictured: pineapple carnitas; smash patty; chorizo)

Pro tip: You’ll want to order this one early in the day, as it’s limited to the amount of fresh beef the restaurant has on hand. Ford says it sold out consistently during the soft opening.

Brunch it up!

Paloma will also be serving brunch in Bay View, and not just on the weekend. A special four-item brunch menu (plus brunch cocktails) will be available Friday through Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The menu includes housemade Chilaquiles featuring house chips in red sauce topped with queso fresco, onion, cilantro, fried egg and pinto beans ($12). Various upgrades are available as well.  There’s also the Poppin’ Yolk Taco featuring crispy cotija and queso fresco cheeses, a fried egg, tomato, onion and cilantro served in a toasted flour tortilla ($6)  

Chorizo and Egg featuring chorizo, seasoned scrambled eggs, Chihuahua cheese, salsa, crema, cilantro and crushed chips ($13; can be made into a taco for $5.50, a burrito for $9 or a taco pocket for $11). Meanwhile the Breakfast Taco Pocket is filled with scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, cheese and French toast ($14).

Brunch drinks include Sippin Sangaria ($9; or $33 for a pitcher); the Garden Bloody Mary ($12); Michelada ($8); or a Sunshine Mimosa ($10). There’s also Valentine coffee, aqua frescas or Two Brothers sodas (all priced $4-$5).

Partio to come

In the coming weeks, Paloma Bay View will also feature a (dog friendly) summertime patio, which will seat up to 40 guests with views of Zillman Park (expected to open May 31). Pup treats, including The Fat Puppy (tortilla, banana, peanut butter) and the Barkarita (broth in peanut butter cup) will be available for purchase.

The patio will be located on the sidewalk outside the restaurant
The patio will be located on the sidewalk outside the restaurant

Ford says the patio will open as soon as the restaurant has its footing. Whenever that might be, it’s sure to be the perfect spot to sit back with a plate of tacos and a margarita on a hot summer afternoon.

Beginning April 18, Paloma Bay View will be open seven days a week with hours Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.