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Showcasing Latin Libations and Much More

Green Bay, Wisc.

You cannot mention Green Bay without saying "the Packers" in the same sentence. It’s the first image that comes to mind, then “Cheeseheads” tied with something beer related. That’s just the nature of the region, but thanks to one local restaurant, residents appreciate a good frosty one beyond the usual ales, lagers and stouts.

The locally owned and operated Margarita’s, as its name implies, showcases the tequila-based cocktail in all its chilled glory. You’ll find, in fact, 50 different varieties on the menu of the drink with Mexican origins. It may be ordered in classic style (with top-shelf tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice) or in fun flavors like apple swirl, cherry, orange Dreamsicle and pomegranate. Of course it’s served on the rocks or frozen.

There’s grand, authentic Mexican fare to pair with Margarita’s Latin libations. Consisting of popular dishes like chile relano (stuffed poblano pepper with two cheeses, battered and fried, and topped with house red sauce), Margarita’s chimichanga (pork and ground beef with signature Margarita’s dip) and pork tamales, the menu is diverse yet familiar enough to attract a loyal following, says operating manager David Zander.

“We have a lot of regulars,” says Zander, adding that much of the core audience comes from the surrounding Green Bay market of the Fox Cities and Upper Peninsula of Michigan. “A lot of people we see four or five times a week. They are coming because they know what they’re going to get: an excellent meal and service.”

Zander maintains that part of Margarita’s appeal is that it didn’t just spring up overnight. It’s been a core part of Green Bay’s restaurant community for more than 10 years and many of its employees have worked there for many years.

“We’ve got employees that have been here going on 12 years,” he exclaims. “We have two cooks that have been here since the beginning. Two others (from the front of the house) have been here for almost as long. We don’t have a lot of turnover. Our employees know what our standards are (and adhere to them).”

Zander credits the restaurant’s smooth operation to aggressive, ongoing training programs to keep staffers at the top of their game. “Our (initial) training program for front of house is extensive,” he reveals. “Servers will work six or seven training services before they (work with customers). They have to be the very best before they ever hit the floor.” And though the menu doesn’t change much, he adds, servers are well-informed on seasonal dishes, margaritas and craft beers. They must be confident when they’re discussing items with guests, particularly when they’re trying to upsell them.

Zander’s been with Margarita’s for four years, and during his tenure he’s stressed to the staff the company’s number one philosophy: taking care of the customer. “We don’t say no. If the customer wants something that is off the menu we take care of that. We pride ourselves in taking care of the guest. Those expendable dollars that people have, we don’t take for granted. When people are looking for somewhere to go, we want them to think about Margarita’s.”

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