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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Jalisco Cocina Mexicana is Madison, Wisconsin's newest Mexican restaurant on 108 King Street. Initially starting as a food truck, Jalisco recently opened its first-ever physical location in April 2023. 

Jalisco Cocina Mexicana: Bringing the taste of home to Madison

Located downtown on the vibrant King Street, Jalisco Cocina Mexicana’s new home sits among other well-known local restaurants like Tipsy Cow and Lucille. From its quaint and cozy dining environment to the decorative designs surrounding the room, Jalisco’s space compliments its unique menu. 

Only recently opening its first-ever restaurant location, Jalisco has already made its mark in the city’s culinary scene.

From their Enchiladas Verdes to the specialty drinks served from La Barra, Jalisco offers a variety of tasty dishes and beverage options. Brooke and Gerardo Hernandez, the owners of Jalisco, hope to bring their Western Mexican ties to those who are unfamiliar with the culture. 

Brooke and Gerardo Hernandez started their business as a food truck under their previous name, Cultura Cali. 

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, a city in the state of Jalisco, Gerardo Hernandez always envisioned opening his own restaurant after moving to the United States. 

“We really wanted to bring a taste of home to Madison,” he said. “Our goal is to stay as authentic as we possibly can to the culture and we hope that, eventually, it works out for the people of Madison.”

With a menu featuring dishes that remind them of home, Brooke and Gerardo Hernandez hope to highlight the authenticity of their restaurant’s cuisine — food they feel is often Americanized. 

By incorporating traditional dishes, such as their Queso Fundido and Chicken Mole, the duo hopes their menu reaffirms their genuine dedication to homestyle cooking.

“We hope to educate people into what we're trying to do with our vision and how things are made in Mexico,” Gerardo Hernandez said.  

While Jalisco’s modern appearance may throw off some customers, Brooke and Gerardo Hernandez said their design aspires to overcome stereotypes about Mexican restaurant design. 

The pair hopes to offer an atmosphere that feels like home while containing elements of an extravagant dining experience. 

“I want to get away from the idea that Mexican restaurants have to be ugly,” Gerardo Hernandez said. “If you go to Mexico, they have beautiful, gorgeous restaurants. I want it to be a nice place with a modern and Mexican feel to it.”

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Jalisco plans to continue advertising their new restaurant location through social media platforms, particularly Instagram, Brooke and Gerardo Hernandez said. 

In the future, they hope to expand the restaurant’s success with plans to add an outdoor patio seating area and partner with various local food and distillery companies. 

“Once we get busy and once we get people in here, we'll start experimenting and introducing more things,” Gerardo Hernandez said. 

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Lauren Aguila

Lauren Aguila is a current photographer and writer for The Daily Cardinal. You can check out her work on Instagram at @shot.sbylaguila.

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