Jesus Gonzalez and Sean Phelan are more than business partners. They’ve build their 15-year friendship on mutual respect and admiration – and of course, a shared desire to create positive change in Milwaukee. At Zócalo, they’ve created a platform for food entrepreneurs to share their creative culinary concepts and a safe space for people to gather and exchange ideas. Jesus is a first-generation Mexican American and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America as well as chef, entrepreneur and owner of the popular taco truck Mazorca.
As the owner of Phelan Development, Sean develops and invests in real estate projects that reinforce place making in communities. Sean and his wife Lucia’s mentorship of Jesus throughout his life encouraged him to explore the culinary arts in different cities and countries. Sean’s coaching has also spurred Jesus to move forward with his ideas, turning goals into reality. Inspired by the food truck culture across the United States, both Sean and Jesus saw a perfect opportunity to work together, bringing the concept to Milwaukee in the burgeoning Walker’s Point neighborhood. On July 13, 2019, Zócalo Food Park opened at 636 S. 6th Street.
The tortilla makes the taco. And at Mazorca – Spanish for cob – hand-pressed corn tortillas envelop mouthwatering ingredients for authentic tacos with elevated flavors. From Birria – pulled beef braised in adobo, ginger, chocolate and sesame seeds – to Bistek marinated in beer, cumin, garlic and onions – Mazorca is so much more than just a taco truck. They even offer tortas and burritos, too.Check them out on the gram
Local artist Gloria Santos Ruiz designed the interior of Zócalo’s tavern, inspirited by Frida Kahlo's La Casa Azul (Blue House). Metal, rustic woods and decorative tile accent and balance the bright colors. The warm and open space has two floors and a large bar that invites conversation and celebration. Get your fix of local craft beers, cider, wine and a menu of craft cocktails, including the tavern’s famous Paloma. Keep an eye on the calendar for events and live music in the tavern too.Check them out on the gram
Find the traditional dish of Venezuela right in the heart of Milwaukee at Anytime Arepa. Even better, arepas are gluten free and totally customizable. Most people opt for all the stuffings – chicken, friend plantains, black beans, cheese and avocado salsa. Don’t be shy about wanting to smoother the avocado salsa all over your arepa – it’s that good. Husband-wife team Maria Salas and Leo Farfan find inspiration in old recipes and aromas they grew up with. The shredded pork is the traditional Christmas recipe in Venezuela. “We want to bring the flavors and aromas you would find on the streets of Venezuela. We want our customers to feel that energy from our family heritage,” they say.Check them out on the gram
Making gourmet sushi accessible and out of a truck is no easy feat. Mädern Mäkē has perfected serving up fresh sushi with a modern twist – and it’s the only sushi-ramen food truck in Milwaukee. Chef Marco Garcia starts with high-grade sushi fish and incorporates Japanese traditions while throwing down his own twist on maki (rolls). He’s even developed a hot flamin’ sushi burrito, a nod to their roots and the Latin vibe at Zócalo. Try the signature Crunchy Munchy Roll or Tonkatsu Ramen to warm you up on a cold day.Check them out on the gram
Founder Ryan Povlick, and partners Dustin Garley and Justin Povlick got their start packing pints out of their tiny freezer space. They make all of their ice cream in small batches and from scratch. Toppings like brownies, cookie dough, caramel and fudge are – you guessed it – also made from scratch. Does the sound of salted caramel waffle cone make you drool? Or is vegan peanut butter more your speed? Either way, fresh ice cream made with premium ingredients makes all the difference. Pick up a pint or a cone today!Check them out on the gram
Daniela (a.k.a Ruby) Varela taught herself how to make the perfect “Milwaukee-style” bagel in 2017 after realizing there was no local small business that specialized in bagels. Once she developed the recipe with the perfect consistency, she taught her mom and aunt how to make bagels, making it a fully female, family-run operation. Ruby’s bagels are “spoiled and boiled” referring to her two-day process which locks moisture in, ensuring a solid crust and soft, chewy inside. Many claim that what makes a bagel special is the water and nobody has fresher water than Milwaukee! Try the popular rosemary sea salt or everything bagel if you’re seeking savory. Trust us, New York has nothin’ on these bagels.Check them out on the gram
Burgers, fries, onion rings and cheese curds – what else does a Wisconsinite need? Kurt and Katie Fogle, Brent Fogle and Joe McCormick are bringing back the nostalgic flavors of Wisconsin from the restaurants of yesteryear with their new concept Dairyland. Their mouthwatering comfort food is prepared with care and will satisfy the most intense craving. Specials like a Friday fish fry and kids menu make this truck a true Milwaukee staple. Homemade goodies like cookies and brownies are also available, baked by Dairyland pastry chef Katie Fogle.Check them out on the gram