It’s been said that Joe DeRosa has a keen sense as to what people are looking for in a dining experience.
It must be true because he has been a successful restaurateur for many years. DeRosa owns Eddie Martini’s and The Chancery in Wauwatosa and Parkside 23 and Jose’s Blue Sombrero in Brookfield and Racine.
DeRosa does his research when opening up a restaurant. “He sat in his car on the corner of Barker and Blue Mound roads and counted cars when he was deciding on a Brookfield location for Jose’s Blue Sombrero,” said George Flees, general manager for Parkside 23 and both locations for Jose’s Blue Sombrero.
Although DeRosa opened Jose’s in Racine in 2001, he had some bumps to smooth out before expanding to Brookfield. “We almost closed the Racine restaurant after six months,” Flees said. “We had some issues with the chef. But we hired a new chef, revamped recipes and the place took off.”
Flees is finding the same success in Brookfield.
“It’s inviting — the music, the decor,” Flees said. “Mr. DeRosa says a great dining experience is made up of the perfect combination of product, place and people.”
The menu, which Flees developed from his love of Mexican food, is a collection of traditional items — enchiladas, fajitas, tostadas and tamales, as well as twists on favorites.
“It’s been an evolution. We started with 24 menu choices,” he said. “We now have more than 70.”
Patrons have been won over with the fresh ingredients resulting in vivid flavors and creative spins on standards, like tacos (chipotle and tequila shrimp tacos) or burritos (blue lobster burritos in a homemade cream sauce). The casa specialty is shrimp soup made with a half pound of gulf shrimp, fresh avocado and pico de gallo in a light tomato broth. Rumor has it, it should not be missed.
Full entrees, including vegetarian and gluten-free selections, are plentiful, as well as appetizers, like Big Bill’s Jalawhoppers peppers stuffed with seasoned ground beef and a mix of cheeses.
Desserts are creatively special as well. “We continue to add new menu items,” Flees said. “We offer our guests the option to customize their selections.”
Although complimentary chips and salsa are made fresh in-house, guests love the guacamole assembled at table side. Tough choices also are served up with a selection of more than a dozen margarita flavors, from peach and strawberry to coconut and traditional, and for the daring — jalapeno. Sangria is also made at table side.
Jose’s Happy Hour may just be the happiest around. From 3 to 6 p.m. daily, the restaurant serves $3 margaritas and a free taco bar. From 9 p.m. to close, Happy Hour resumes with $3 margaritas.
_________ Let’s Go! _________
Jose’s Blue Sombrero
Where: 20371 W. Blue Mound Rd., Brookfield
Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Bar open nightly