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.