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Cholo Power changes name to Inka Peru and uses a new chef after complaints

Cholo Power is changing its name and hiring a new chef after dealing with several resident complaints filed against the company when its permit came up for renewal earlier in May.

The new name will be Inka Peru Cuisine and the new chef will be Ricardo Herrera, chef at Triciclo Peru, a Peruvian restaurant that closed in the fall of 2023. Herrera is the half-brother of Mario Diaz Herrera, chef at Cholo Power and owner of Triciclo Peru, and has been the subject of several complaints against Cholo Power operations.

Both versions of the Peruvian restaurant at 3001 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. are owned by Mario Malacara, owner of the building and also owner of the previous business in the space, Blackwood Brothers Restaurant.

Cholo Power’s license was flagged when it came up for renewal due to a handful of complaints from residents, some of which related to loud music and waste issues with Cholo Power and Blackwood Brothers Restaurant. Other complaints involved Diaz Herrera who was convicted in November 2023 of disorderly conduct related to domestic violence.

Malacara did not appear before the Common Council’s licensing committee at its May 7 meeting when his liquor and food licenses were up for renewal. This led to both licenses expiring on May 9.

Ald. Marina Demitrijevic, who represents the area, approved a temporary food license for the business, but she retained the provisional liquor license until Malacara had a community meeting and appeared before the Licensing Commission.

Malacara held a meeting on May 17 and about 13 residents showed up, according to a memo submitted to the city by Michael Maistelman, Malacara’s attorney.

The memo said residents had similar complaints to those filed with the city. Maistelman and the owner answered residents’ questions and the memo said residents seemed satisfied with their answers.

According to the memo, a group also expressed concerns about Diaz Herrera’s role.

“We have informed them and everyone that we have parted ways with Chef Mario for various reasons,” the memo said.

Maistelman confirmed to the Journal Sentinel that Diaz Herrera will have no role in the new restaurant.

Maistelman said Inka Peru Cuisine has a new menu and is offering free empanada delivery to its immediate neighbors. Malacara told the Licensing Commission on Wednesday that the signage change would begin the same day.

The committee recommended approval of the permanent food and beverage permits with a warning letter. It will be presented to the full council for approval on June 11.

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