I am back with a new Small Business Spotlight and eager to feature a newcomer to the Washington Park neighborhood on the near west side of Milwaukee: Triciclo Perú.
I was introduced to Triciclo Perú when I participated in a virtual Doors Open: Neighborhood Gems event (hosted by Historic Milwaukee and the Neighborhood News Service) earlier this fall. Since our first order of empanadas, we cannot get enough of this restaurant whose name was inspired by Peruvian street vendors who utilize the tricycle carts to sell their goods.
Amy Narr and Mario Diaz are the owners of the food cart turned restaurant which opened its brick-and-mortar at 3801 W Vliet Street in December 2019. According to Amy and Mario, the food cart came first, in 2017, when they just sold empanadas at farmers markets and festivals. They participated in a number of local pitch competitions, including Rev UP MKE, and were ultimately connected with the Near West Side Neighborhood Association and then their contractor and landlord who helped with the buildout of the restaurant.
I am particularly happy to have learned of their restaurant and would consider us to be afficionados of their take-and-bake frozen empanada line called Pachamama (Earth Mother). I would also recommend the pisco cocktails (my favorite being the Purple Corn Bramble), yucas fritas with Huancaina, arroz con leche (photo below), and the Alfajor, a Peruvian sandwich cookie with dulce de leche filling. The menu includes gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.
Also worth noting is Triciclo Perú’s partnership with the Oasis neighborhood project that was started over the summer by Pat Mueller, owner of Heritage West Properties, with the support of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association, CMS Contracting, Hmong Chamber of Commerce, Triciclo Perú, and Pete’s Pops. The Oasis market and park opened across the street from the restaurant and, per Amy and Mario, the project offers local farmers and makers a free-of-rent space to sell their goods to a neighborhood that does not have immediate access to affordable, healthy nutrition. Over the summer, gardens and colorful tables were added to attract the community to the new green space. Most recently, Pete’s Pop’s hosted a pumpkin patch there for Halloween, and there is now a winter event in the works. Amy and Mario hope to keep it colorful and inviting all year so that it remains activated and community oriented.
It’s not just the neighbors that are talking about Triciclo Perú though. They were nominated for Best Central / South American Restaurant of Milwaukee in the Shepherd Express’ annual “The Best of Milwaukee Readers’ Choice Contest” for 2020. Voting for the winner started on November 5th so I would highly encourage a sample of their menu and a vote in their favor.
Check out the Triciclo Perú Facebook page and Instagram for menu updates, featured drinks, and specials, and then stop by for curbside pick-up or sit tight for home delivery. Their full restaurant menu – including pisco drinks – is available on both DoorDash (delivery app) and CashDrop (app for curbside pickup), while the Pachamama frozen empanadas are available for purchase and curbside pick-up at Triciclo. The frozen empanadas will soon be available for delivery via the DoorDash menu as well.
Amy and Mario are thrilled to have the community support but acknowledge that winter is going to be tough for small restaurants like theirs. They encourage their customers to keep following them on social accounts, engaging in their posts, and enjoying the delicious Peruvian cuisine through limited capacity dine-in, delivery, and curbside pick-up. I plan to whole-heartedly follow that advice!
A big thank you to Amy and Mario for their support in confirming details for this post!