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updated: 7/2/2014 10:34 AM

Mexican food at Ribfest? 9 questions with Sergio's Cantina

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  • Geneva-based Sergio's Cantina will serve Mexican food for the first time during the 27th annual Ribfest in Naperville, which runs July 3 to 6 at Knoch Park.

       Geneva-based Sergio's Cantina will serve Mexican food for the first time during the 27th annual Ribfest in Naperville, which runs July 3 to 6 at Knoch Park.
    LAURA STOECKER | Staff Photographer

  • Instead of opening a second restaurant, Sergio's Cantina in Geneva is looking to expand its business this summer by traveling to 14 area festivals.

       Instead of opening a second restaurant, Sergio's Cantina in Geneva is looking to expand its business this summer by traveling to 14 area festivals.
    LAURA STOECKER | Staff Photographer

 
 

Lindsey De Los Santos isn't exactly Sergio of Sergio's Cantina. But her husband is. Together they own a Mexican restaurant in Geneva, one that has the honor of being the first Mexican restaurant to sell food at Ribfest in Naperville.

A Sergio's booth will be part of the food court on the north side of the park near the main stage during the event July 3 to 6. Lindsey talks about the restaurant's role at Ribfest.

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Q. How long have you been in the restaurant business?

A. Sergio and I have had the restaurant for seven years.

Q. Why are you coming to Ribfest this year?

A. We had been wanting to expand our business, but instead of opening a second location, we thought about expanding by doing festivals in other surrounding areas.

Q. How many festivals are you going to?

A. We're doing 14 festivals this year.

Q. How do you feel about being the first Mexican food vendor at Ribfest?

A. We are excited about being the only Mexican vendor. We're anticipating that we'll still get a pretty decent crowd. We have some alternates like salads and different options for people to try.

Q. So what's on the menu?

A. We have a gourmet mini taco plate with three tacos, a steak chimichurri taco, a chorizo taco and a fish taco. That's a favorite in our restaurant, I would say. We also have a shrimp avocado tostada, a taco salad with romaine in a crunchy tortilla bowl, hard-shell tacos with beef or chicken and classic nachos with melted cheese and jalapeņos. We have chips and salsa. We make our chips homemade, the salsa is homemade. And for dessert we have fried ice cream with churros. We hand-coat the ice cream with a coconut corn flake mixture and deep fry it, and the churros are filled with raspberry filling and rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Q. How do you make that all in a tent?

A. We prep everything in-house and then transport it. We make it fresh every day.

Q. How do you get your booth set up? How long does it take?

A. It usually takes about four hours. The critical thing is getting the warmers started, the grill started, the freezers plugged in, the fridge plugged in, and getting the food heated or cooled. That's the most important step. Basically it's just stocking all of our dry supplies, our food goods and making it look nice with our banners.

Q. How big is the Sergio's crew?

A. We're bringing around six employees.

Q. How much do you expect to sell?

A. It's hard to say because each festival is different. But we did a Chicago rib festival and it was extremely busy for us. You definitely do make money.

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