I'm in the process of putting on a new dealer in La Crosse, WI and I've been up there a couple times wining and dining him to get him to take one of my lines. It's pretty much a done deal, but we had dinner at a pretty good local Italian restaurant a couple months ago (Ciatti's - a chain of franchisee owned restaurants that are mainly in Minnesota). My new dealer candidate told me the next time I came up, we had to go have dinner at Manny's Cocina.
I was in La Crosse recently and stopped in late in the day to see my new prospective dealer at his new location. After going over some of the new products that we unveiled at the recent CEDIA Expo in Denver (he didn't attend - he was moving to his new location), we decided to go out to dinner. He said, "Anything you looking for tonight?"
I said, "Well, yeah. You told me that we had to go to Manny's for dinner the next time I came up."
Manny's is run by Manny Rivera and his family. They were in a very small building in La Crosse for a number of years. My dealer told me that it may have had six tables in the place, and it would get so crowded some nights that they would tell people waiting for a table to go to the bar a couple doors down and they'd call the bar when their table was ready.
Manny's original location caught fire and burned down a couple years ago. They were so popular in the community that they had little to no trouble securing financing to move to a former Bob Evans restaurant along Interstate 94 in Onalaska. They opened a little over a year ago and have been doing gangbuster business ever since.
The decor in Manny's is typical of a Mexican restaurant. There were a lot of little rooms and alcoves throughout the place and we were seated in a small room with four other tables (and no other customers). The first thing we did is order a couple beers - they had Sol on menu, which is a major plus in my book in regard to any Mexican restaurant. My dealer told me that their margaritas were to die for. I said that I'd try one after I finished my beer - and that wouldn't take too long.
Manny's is known for their Mexican seafood dishes. In fact, the majority of their entrees are seafood dishes with a Mexican flair. My dealer told me that their Seven Seas Burrito was a favorite of his, but he liked four or five things on the menu equally as well. I told him that was good enough for me. When the waitress came back, I ordered a Seven Seas Burrito and an "Ultimate Perfect Margarita" - a larger margarita with Grand Marnier and Reserva Jose Cuervo Anejo tequila.
The Seven Seas Burrito has broiled shrimp, sea bass, scallops, and white fish with a creamy goat cheese sauce on a bed of rice rolled up in a burrito and topped with more goat cheese sauce. My dealer got the Seafood Lovers Burrito, pretty much the same thing without the rice.
The food - and the margarita - were, in a word, fabulous. It was such a welcome change from the normal fare you get in most Mexican restaurants. The seafood tasted fresh and was cooked perfectly.
And the margarita was great, as well. I'm glad that I didn't have to go any further than just across the street, though. It was that packed with liquor.
Manny's is worth the stop if you're in the La Crosse area. In fact, it would be worth the stop even in you're NOT in the La Crosse area. I may have to take my wife up there for a meal sometime some weekend we want to do a little road trip.