Sorry, there's no Papa Rico at Paparico's Mexican Restaurant

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Ismael Martinez
There is, however, a papa in the house: cheery Ismael Martinez, who has worked in several Mexican restaurants in the metro over the years, mostly in Kansas City, Kansas. His plan was to open his own restaurant in Wyandotte County.

But Martienez says he had a revelation: "There are already too many Mexican restaurants there."

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So Martinez opened Paparico's on the other side of the state line, in the space that once was home

to Torre's Pizza. (After Torre's, it was a couple of barbecue joints before becoming, most recently, Murphy's Pub.)

His daughter Alejandra came up with the

name after a recent visit to Galveston, Texas, where she saw a

restaurant with a similar name to Paparico's.

There's still some competition in this neighborhood, though: the popular Chelly's Cafe -- one of those independently owned cantinas with offbeat dishes that people either love or hate (a guacamole dip made with sour cream).

Like Chelly's, Martinez serves breakfast on weekends, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the menu: menudo, pozole, breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos and breakfast quesadillas.

A gregarious host (he cooks, too), Martinez got a good deal on the location, which hasn't changed too much since he took it over (a couple of Mexican hats on the wall, a serape, few other decorative touches) and cleaned it up. Paparico's doesn't have a liquor license yet, so no Margaritas or a cold beer offsets the spicy dinners. (He says the license process is under way.)

Martinez also offers some unexpected choices on his menu: hot chicken wings, seasoned french fries, a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and a strawberry sundae for dessert.

"I want to give customers what they want," he says.

 

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