New Naperville restaurant brings 'ancestral' Mexican cuisine

The first of five restaurants to open in downtown Naperville's Water Street District will take diners south of the border and back in time.

Called Quiubo, a combination of Spanish words that forms Mexican slang for “what's up?” the restaurant serves Mexican dishes from throughout the country and the ages, chief culinary officer and partner Ricardo Garcia-Rubio says.

“We just want to show people all of the variety we have in Mexico,” he said as the restaurant welcomed its first guests Wednesday. “We still have a lot of ancestral dishes that are still alive from thousand of years like tortillas and salsas the Aztecs and Mayans made.”

House-made tortillas will be just one draw on the menu at the 110-seat restaurant and bar located at 120 Water St., on one corner of a 2.4-acre site that's in the final stages of undergoing a $93 million renovation.

Naperville developer Marquette Companies has built a hotel and banquet center, a 520-space parking garage, retail and office space and improvements to the Riverwalk and streetscapes just south of the DuPage River and east of the Naperville municipal center.

With space for Quiubo and four other restaurants, city officials have said the district is expected to enhance downtown Naperville's status as a dining destination.

Quiubo is part of the Bien Trucha Group, a collection of three Mexican restaurants that got its start 10 years ago in Geneva and also includes a todo madre in Glen Ellyn. While the locations share a few staple dishes, most of the menu is different in each spot and also changes with the seasons, Garcia-Rubio said.

“We want to make dishes that are Mexican, but our own creations,” he said.

Among them is a vegetable preparation, shaped like a crabcake with chilis rellenos and topped with a red sauce.

“It makes a delicious, ancestral dish,” Garcia-Rubio said.

The restaurant also takes hibiscus flowers already softened from being brewed for tea, then chops and fries the petals with adobo sauce and serves them in a taco dish with corn and a Mexican cheese.

Roughly 50 employees work at the restaurant, which is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and also serves a Sunday brunch. Its interior is decorated with murals by a Mexican painter by the name Spaik.

Aside from Quiubo, other restaurants coming to the Water Street District include SixtyFour — A Wine Bar; Santo Cielo, a farm-to-table restaurant with a rotating menu; Blue Sushi Sake Grill, an upscale Japanese restaurant; and State & Main, a British-style pub popular in Canada.

  Patrons fill Quiubo on Wednesday evening as the new Mexican restaurant hosts its opening night in the Water Street District in downtown Naperville. Mark Black/
  Sandra Ahomada and Mangoneada are two of the drinks on the menu at Quiubo Mexican restaurant in downtown Naperville, which is the first of five restaurants to open in the Water Street District, a $93 million hospitality, dining and retail district. Mark Black/
  A server brings out a board of tacos Wednesday from the kitchen of Quiubo, a restaurant named for the Mexican slang word for "what's up?" that opened this week in the Water Street District in downtown Naperville. Mark Black/
  The bright pink "Q" at the southeast corner of Webster and Water streets in downtown Naperville signifies this storefront as the home of Quiubo, a new Mexican restaurant that is the first of five dining establishments to open in the Water Street District. Mark Black/
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