Authentic Mexican Meals in Fish Creek

Nino Jauregui, co-owner of the Arroyo Bay Grill, said his goal is to first get people to try out the new restaurant, then to get them to come back. Photo by Carol Thompson.

The Arroyo Bay Grill opened in mid-May with a fresh paint job, a new porch and a big menu.

“We have the basic sandwiches, but what makes us different is the wood-fired meat,” said Nino Jauregui, one of the restaurant owners. “And being the most authentic Mexican restaurant in Door County – no question about it.”

Nino and his brother Armando are originally from Mexico, and own the Summer Kitchen in Ephraim. They opened the Arroyo Bay Grill restaurant in Fish Creek to try and attract a dinner crowd that wants to have a drink with their meal, which they can’t serve in Ephraim.

“We’re not drinkers, but when it comes to being a business you need to combine both things because when you’re on vacation it’s a must-thing to have, a nice meal with a cocktail or glass of wine,” Nino said.

But it’s not just the vacationers the Jaureguis want to attract. They plan to open the restaurant year-round and are hoping to get a local crowd, too.

“So far, so good; we’ve been getting a pretty good response from the locals in the community,” Nino said. “Everybody’s excited that we brought this place back to life, and as a family restaurant.”

The Arroyo Bay Grill is in the old Sonny’s location near the Door Community Auditorium on Highway 42. The Jaureguis added patio seating, new flooring and a coat of yellow paint. They kept the bar, which they plan to eventually keep open late and offer a late-night bar menu, and the pizza ovens, which inspired the Arroyo Bay Grill menu’s pizza section.

The restaurant’s kitchen extends beyond the building’s walls. Firewood is stacked behind the restaurant, ready for the black iron stove cooks use to char meat.

“We char the pork, chicken and beef,” Nino said. “We char that for extra flavor, for more authentic flavor.”

With authentic Mexican food such as chile relleno, classic American fare such as a BLT, breakfast and baked goods, the Arroyo Bay Grill menu could please almost everyone, especially anyone with a taste for homemade chips, salsa or margaritas.

Those margaritas are already a hit, Nino said – the restaurant went through 20 gallons of them on Memorial Day weekend. While the busy weekend was tough for the restaurant staff working with a new menu, kitchen and building, Nino said customers gave good feedback and mostly left pleased.

“Our goal is for everyone who comes to try our food to come back,” Nino said.