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Rivas Nicaraguan restaurant relocates to South Side

After opening and shuttering two restaurants under the same name and concept in Etna and Carnegie, Rivas is back. This time it's on the South Side, at 601 E. Carson St, in the space previously occupied by Mantini's Wood Fired, which is now at 1209 E. Carson St., in the heart of the business district.

The family-owned Nicaraguan restaurant was flooded out of Etna in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, and the owners realized during their three years in Carnegie that most of customers were driving in from the east. So why not relocate closer to the customers?

"Everything we do, we do for our customers," says Izayana Rivas, who--with her husband and brothers--helps her parents Antonio and Angela Rivas run the restaurant. "It didn't make sense for the customers to travel through two tunnels to get to us, so we came to the South Side. It's such a melting pot here of people and food."

The 10,000-square-foot space, which opened at the end of July, can seat up to 100 people, and includes a bar (Rivas is BYOB for now, though), as well as a small stage for musical performances. The walls are a warm, orangey red, and the decorations simple and tropical in theme.

Rivas serves traditional Nicaraguan food, which Izayana explains as being "tangy" rather than "spicy," with lots of lemon and garlic and plantains. The menu at the South Side spot includes some Mexican staples, but fewer than at the previous locations. Highlights include homemade tortillas, Nicaraguan enchiladas, which are nothing like their Mexican counterpart, and a lunch special where patrons can pick from an assortment of buffet-style dishes.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Sources: Izayana and Angela Rivas

Photo copyright Caralyn Green
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