Mango’s Café East Brings the Caribbean to Brady Street
Mango’s Café East, the new restaurant and bar located at the former location of Libby’s Lounge and more recently Van Buren’s Whiskey Bar (1682 N. Van Buren St.), is an elevated take on a tiki lounge, mixed with an emphasis on Caribbean cuisine.
“In Wisconsin it feels like winter almost half of the year,” Alan Hererra, one of five partners at Mango’s, says. “We want to create a place where you can escape that and feel like you’re in a tropical setting.”
These five friends, who each come from different backgrounds including advertising, real estate, and most importantly, food and beverage, decided to rebrand Van Buren’s as Mango’s after realizing there was an untapped niche in the area. In just one month they completely renovated the building, putting in new flooring, ceilings, decorations and updating the bar and kitchen.
The tropical backdrop is firmly established through the décor; a large painted tiki mask that greets you as you walk in, a tin roof and island decorations on display throughout the space. A nook towards the back of the space houses a large projection screen and contrasts the island theme with a bit of a sports bar atmosphere.
The menu stays true to the theme, with pina coladas served out of tiki cups and Caribbean-inspired bar food, including Cuban sandwiches, tacos and wings.
The wings are coated in a special Dominican sauce that’s similar to a dry rub and packs a solid amount of kick.
But the tacos, which were a hit at last year’s Taco Fest, will inevitably become what Mango’s is known for. They are packed to the brim with steak, chicken, shrimp, fish or veggies, and topped with Caribbean garnishes. Taco plates also come with a side of rice and beans.
While “Taco Tuesday” has become a ritual all over the nation, Mango’s takes the concept a step further by offering $2 tacos every day from 5-7 p.m.
Mango’s also accommodates the late-night dining crowd, with their kitchen open until 2 a.m. For added convenience, they also plan to start delivery service soon.
Herrera sees Mango’s as a place where a diverse group of people will be able to get together to eat, have a few drinks, take in a game and socialize. He recognizes the history Brady St. has when it comes to restaurants and nightlife, and hopes that Mango’s will soon become a part of it.
“Brady St. has such a rich culture,” Herrera says. “We want to bring something fun and new to the community and make sure we do it the right way.”