BERWYN – When guests come to El Nuevo Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill, they’re in for more than just a delicious meal.
The new restaurant in Berwyn’s historic bank building on Cermak Road provides live Mariachi music seven days a week. It’s that unique concept that co-owner Abel Amador hopes will attract residents from all over the Chicago area. And so far, his idea has worked.
“People have been coming from Berwyn, Chicago, Elgin and Schaumburg, all through word of mouth,” Amador explained. “Business has been very busy, and that makes me feel very excited and happy.”
El Nuevo Vallarta opened May 10, and while Latino-flavored seafood is a highlight on the menu, it also serves a variety of traditional Mexican dishes and pasta and has a kids’ menu as well.
Amador, who previously has worked as an executive chef for almost 20 years, created the extensive menu, which is comprised of 100 dishes.
“It’s all about the flavor profile and how you create dishes in different ways. When I can see people enjoying my items, it makes me feel that I can be even more creative with my food,” he said.
The Berwyn Development Corp. and city of Berwyn held a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 12 to officially welcome El Nuevo Vallarta to Berwyn.
“The BDC is thrilled to have an exciting new concept open its doors in the historic bank building of the Cermak Road corridor," BDC Executive Director David Hulseberg said. "We welcome this vibrant and lively addition to our equally vibrant and lively community."
Amador was the executive chef at 35 Sports Bar and Grill, the restaurant that previously was in the building. He said he wanted to buy the business when the previous owners decided to close the restaurant in February after business had been dwindling over the past six months.
“The Berwyn area is about 75 percent Hispanic, and that’s the reason I chose the concept [for El Nuevo Vallarta] because it’s more suited to the population,” he said. “Other restaurants don’t have seafood as the main dish, and our seafood is more Latino-flavored and spicy. It’s also about the live Mariachi.”
Former Chicago White Sox player Frank Thomas owned both 35 Sports Bar and Grill and the building's previous occupant, Big Hurt Brewhouse.
Big Hurt Brewhouse closed in November 2016 after two years in business. The restaurant’s Facebook page had said it was closed to remodel, but it never reopened.
Berwyn-based Buona Companies managed 35 Sports Bar and Grill, which opened Sept. 21, 2017, before closing in February.
Amador decided to keep the sports bar and its 35 TVs and added what he said is the best tequila line in the area. He also said he carries the best whiskeys and cognacs and has 30 beers on tap.
“We have craft beer on tap and a lot of Mexican beers. We have more variety [of draft beer] than other restaurants,” Amador said.
BDC Board of Directors President Andy Sotiropoulos said the restaurant serves “amazing seafood.”
“The Mariachis are great entertainment, along with the great meal,” he said.
If you go
WHAT: El Nuevo Vallarta Sports Bar and Grill
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday
WHERE: 6801 W. Cermak Road, Berwyn
INFO: facebook.com/mariscoselnuevovallarta, 708-371-5929