STEVE CAHALAN For La Crosse Tribune
ONALASKA – There’s talk of one of the newest Mexican restaurants in the area – the one with Mexican-made metal monarch butterflies decorating the exterior and interior of the building.
Taqueria Monarca opened February 17 at 1200 County Road PH in Onalaska. It’s in the newer building that also houses Jersey Mike’s Subs and an Edward Jones office, and is west of Caribou Coffee.
“It’s been good,” co-owner and general manager Jose Aguirre said of the business. “When we first opened, a lot of people didn’t know we were open, and it was a bit slower. But with word going around and people coming back to eat here, it feels good.
The other two owners of the restaurant, his brother Andres Aguirre and Jose Guzman, live in Marshfield. Jose Aguirre moved from Marshfield to Holmen to run the Onalaska Restaurant, which the owners say offers authentic Mexican cuisine.
This is the first time that the Aguirre brothers have co-owned a restaurant. They have worked for Guzman at other Mexican restaurants he has in central Wisconsin.
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The three owners are originally from Mexico.
The decoration of the new restaurant comes from Mexico, such as the large metal flowers inside and the large orange and black metal monarch butterflies inside and outside.
The owners came up with the restaurant’s name because taqueria is Spanish for a restaurant or food cart that sells tacos, while monarca is Spanish for monarch. Monarch butterflies are large and many of them migrate to the Mexican state of Michoacan for the winter.
“We decided (on the name of the restaurant) based on how we were going to decorate the restaurant,” Aguirre said. “We wanted something lighter” than the very bright colors often found in Mexican restaurants.
Some of the most popular menu items at Taqueria Monarca are street tacos, extra-large burritos, and tortas, which are a type of Mexican sandwich. Some of the most popular tacos are al pastor, made with marinated pork; lengua, made from steamed beef tongue; chicken and steak.
“Our chicken burrito is probably our most popular burrito,” Aguirre said.
For dessert, the restaurant offers flan, choco flan (chocolate cake with flan on top) and three milk cake.
Some of its drinks include Mexican and American beers, margaritas and other Mexican cocktails, and Mexican soft drinks.
Taqueria Monarca has four televisions for watching sporting events.
The restaurant can accommodate around 90 people inside and will be able to accommodate around 20 more on its outdoor terrace under construction. Aguirre hopes the patio will open in about a month.
Aguirre plans to start offering a third-party delivery service through EatStreet soon.
The Taqueria Monarca is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.