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Rio Loco Cantina opening in downtown Hudson

Mike Tupa and Tom Tomaro stand behind the 75-foot bar at their new restaurant Rio Loco Cantina on Second Street in Hudson. The restaurant will feature Mexican-cuisine and plenty of bar offerings. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Located at 417 Second St., the new restaurant Rio Loco Cantina features a dining room, full bar and outdoor patio. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Rio Loco Cantina, with 25 beers on tap, is set to open on Monday, March 12. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

An old downtown building has new life as Rio Loco Cantina opens Monday, March 12 at 417 Second St.

The former Ellie's location has a new look thanks to the work of new owners Mike Tupa and Tom Tomaro. The Mexican restaurant has a 75-foot bar, a wealth of seating, a garage door window and an outdoor patio that's also heated.

"You've got a nice view of the river, a nice view of Main Street," Tomaro said. "Those are both big pluses."

Creating the new space took some time, more than 2 years from purchase to opening for Tupa and Tomaro.

"A year of solid, full-time remodels," Tomaro said.

The two were introduced to the former owner through friends, and were able to strike a deal from there. Tupa said they had been waiting for the right facility, and finally found it here.

As Stillwater residents, Tupa said Hudson is close to home, and somewhere the two business partners have always enjoyed spending time.

"We love the area," Tupa said. "We've always been down here personally for many, many years and thought it'd be a great area to have a business."

Tomaro said they looked at what Hudson had to offer already before moving forward with their idea.

"Hopefully we're filling a niche that's needed in the market. A place for great margaritas, amazing tacos and a broad Mexican menu," Tupa said.

The Mexican-theme was inspired by traveling they've each done, Tupa said.

"It's always been one of those concepts that we've wanted to do, and it's perfect timing, we're ready for it," Tupa said.

Tupa and Tomaro aren't strangers to this process. They've worked with a couple other facilities, including older facilities that they've remodeled and relaunched. Creating the concept from logos to menus, and seeing the vision come together is one of the best parts, they both agreed.

"We really took our time in establishing the concept," Tupa said of Rio Loco.

The menu is full of a variety of dishes, including desserts made in house. Tupa's favorites are the tacos and the jalapeno cured Mexican candied bacon appetizer. Tomaro is a fan of the tamales. Kids menus are available as well.

"It's a fun energetic environment. Family friendly for sure," Tupa said.

In addition to lunch and dinner, breakfast will be added sometime in May. Online ordering will also be available.

Beyond food the bar menu has a few options as well, including more than 80 tequilas and 25 beers on tap.

Now that the new space is ready, Tupa and Tomaro are ready to welcome guests.

"This is when the fun begins now," Tupa said.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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