In Dining Commentary

One more for the road? Nope.

Farewell, La Fuente

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I have been going to the original La Fuente in Walker's Point since the '90s and I live just a few blocks away, so when OnMilwaukee's Lori Fredrich said it was closing, I was shocked.

I mean, the thought crossed my mind that maybe, with all the changes on 5th Street, La Fuente would reconcept. But to close altogether? And so suddenly? (The announcement was made on Saturday, saying the restaurant would close the next day.)

People have complained that the quality of La Fuente's food went down over the years. I didn't experience that, personally. I think places like Cempazuchi introduced us to Mexican food from different regions and street tacos, which started with COA at Bayshore and exploded with BelAir, became more contemporary and preferred.

I get it: The super-cheesy Tex-Mex entrees and not-handcrafted margaritas served in glasses with cactus-shaped stems went out with first-run episodes of "Friends" for a lot of people.

But I never stopped liking La Fuente – or Botanas or La Perla – and in the midst of modern, mix-and-match tacos stuffed with slow-cooked pork and mahi-mahi and bacon and kale and fancy salsas, old school Mexican food continued to hit the mark for me.

It was made-in-Milwaukee Mexican comfort food.

And even though La Fuente was Mexican owned, it didn't cater to a large portion of the Latino community – because it was catering to the likes of me – as well as the likes of many others. I accept that. What I cannot accept is that I will never get to have that shrimp soup again on that patio on the first truly warm day in June. Nope, I can't accept that.

And that I didn't even get to say goodbye.


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