Chef Jorge Guzmán's Petite León to Open April 9

Chef/Owner Jorge Guzmán and co-owner Travis Serbus announced the start of indoor dinner service at Petite León (3800 Nicollet Ave.) The restaurant plans to open to the public on Friday, April 9 with reservations available now on Resy. Petite León originally opened in October 2020 for takeaway service, delaying indoor dining service until now.

“Petite León was always intended to be a warm and welcoming restaurant, infused by the energy of our guests and our neighborhood,” says Guzmán. “Our team has anxiously been awaiting the day we could open for indoor dining. We feel extremely thankful for the support we have received thus far and are excited to share our original vision for the restaurant with both our loyal guests and new customers.”

The shift to a full dinner service allows Guzmán to stretch himself creatively, with technique-driven dishes that pay homage to his Mexican upbringing. Petite León’s new a la carte menu includes the Tamal Frito made with masa panisse, mole pipían, chayote, lime, and z’hug; Aguachile Negro, consisting of bright, fresh cuts of hamachi, plated with hearts of palm and citrus; and smoked beef Lengua, served with house-pickled-and-charred cucumbers and piri-piri. A few Petite León favorites remain on the menu, including the Red Chile Pozole and Le Petite Cheeseburger. Petite Leon’s full menu can be found online.

Opening the restaurant to diners also gives guests their first taste of Serbus’s full cocktail menu, which focuses on sustainable housemade ingredients. Serbus has spent the last few months perfecting Petite León’s beverage program and creating a selection of bitters, vermouths, liqueurs, and seasonal syrups. Menu highlights include the Cassius Green, a savory and vegetal mezcal cocktail; First We Take Manhattan, an updated take on the classic drink that amps up the vermouth, and the Eagle Eye Sherry, a spritz with Cappelletti, quina quina, amontillado sherry, and Cava.

In addition to welcoming guests into the restaurant, Serbus and Guzmán have tasked themselves with creating a safe and ethical working environment for their staff. The restaurant will not be implementing a tipping system and instead will be adding a 20% service fee to all checks.

“The service fee allows us to pay our staff a livable wage and provide them health benefits,” says Serbus. “But more than that, we want to build a restaurant culture that isn’t toxic, promotes balance and family, and gives back to the community.”

Petite León will begin by offering indoor service Wednesday-Saturday from 5-11 p.m. In the coming weeks, the restaurant will begin to extend its days of operation, eventually adding a brunch service on Sundays. Reservations are required for all guests, and the restaurant will be following state mandates that limit restaurant capacity to 75% occupancy. Customers still have the option of ordering takeout from Petite León, which will now be offered Wednesday – Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. Pollo Pollo Al Carbon, which had been using Petite León as a ghost kitchen space, will continue to operate only through Sunday, April 9. Fans of the pop-up Yucatán-inspired chicken concept can follow the brand on Instagram for additional updates.

The restaurant is implementing a number of safety protocols as part of its COVID-19 Preparedness Plan to protect staff and diners. The continuation of indoor dining service is contingent on health and safety factors related to COVID-19.

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