Featured Business: Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar

2/1/2018 - Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Featured Business, Foodie, Nightlife
Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar
Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar
Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar
Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar
Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar

Alicia and Patrick Patterson thought they were semi-retired after owning a restaurant in nearby Lake County, Illinois for ten years. Their plans would change though – as they opened Iguana Wana Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar on November 14, 2017. They transformed what was an office-like educational building into a tropical paradise in 90 days. They found the location when visiting family and wanting a locally-owned place in the neighborhood to dine at. Why the name? Their favorite restaurant while on their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico, 25 years ago was named Iguana Wana. They would return to it many times, until it closed. They thought they would use that name for a restaurant one day. Their staff is like family – a close-knit group, with many who have worked for them before.

Everything – including the bar mixes – is homemade. The executive chef sources the ingredients himself. The most fresh produce possible is used; the seafood is purchased from the same purveyor as the popular Bob Chin’s restaurants. They offer traditional, and not-so-traditional dishes. Among the popular dishes: Steak Relleno – grilled skirt steak stuffed with Gulf shrimp, green and red peppers, grilled onions, mushrooms and cheese, served with Mexican rice and refried beans. Also Camarones Acapulco: Butterflied Gulf shrimp sautéed in a spicy olive oil with a rosemary-garlic-wine dipping sauce. Served with Mexican rice and potatoes.

In addition to the extensive food selection, there is a full bar that specializes in margaritas. The Tequila Bar, as they call it, features over 150 different tequilas. Their house margaritas are made with premium tequilas, so there is no need to order up a top shelf cocktail – they are already prepared with the finest tequilas and homemade simple syrups. A favorite of the house is El Tapache – a margarita featured pineapple-infused Casa Amigos Reposado. Another house favorite are the hand-muddled mojitos. You will also find Mezcal, sangria, pina colodas, and wine. Unique to Iguana Wana is the tequila on tap – premium tequilas that are served chilled through a calibrated tapper system – which makes for great shots. Tequila flights are a popular way to sample the variety available.

The restaurant itself is quite large, with the ability to seat nearly 200 guests at a time between the main dining room and bar area. The sophisticated atmosphere is well-lit thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. Tasteful décor, large wooden tables, and a splattering of bright colors and grass covered canopies give the illusion of a beach-side cantina. Owners and staff pride themselves on keeping the restaurant impossibly clean. You’ll find staff wiping down menus between table use.

Patrick, who also serves as General Manager, and Alicia, who manages the tequila operations, payroll, schedules and other back-of-house supervision, work on-site and are very hands-on in the business. Patrick says the job isn’t stressful when you’re serving a good product and people leave happy. Alicia says, “you have to be an energetic person … getting up every day with a positive attitude.” In talking to them, it’s evident they love what they do. They are always coming up with ideas and goals for the future. Right now they are working on plans to open the patio for outdoor dining by the first of May. They are also developing a gluten-free menu.

Oh, and their executive chef? He’s the one responsible for bringing them out of semi-retirement. He has worked for them and/or their family members three times now. Coincidentally, they recently learned he also worked at Iguana Wana in Cancun – when they were there for their honeymoon!

Iguana Wana is located at 9080 76th Street – right off Highway 50 – in Pleasant Prairie. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and is handicapped accessible. There is a party room for 60 people – ideal for business lunches and celebrations. The restaurant is family friendly with a paper children’s menu – served with crayons. There’s a coupon on the children’s menu for a free ice cream, as a bonus. Also available are a to-go menu and a no-wait app through Yelp (so you can join the table wait list while at home or running errands … and when you arrive your table is ready).

You’ll definitely WANA stop for a meal or a drink!

(262) 694-5400,

February 2018

Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

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