Tapas, wine bar opening this month in Urbana

Co-owner: “There’s a big resurgence of the downtown area.”

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A new experience is coming this month to downtown Urbana featuring Spanish and Portuguese inspired small plates and wine.

Pequeños Tapas and Wine Bar, located at 31 Monument Square, is expected to open mid-March, according to Jonathan Kouse, who owns the bar with Urbana natives Bryan Thompson and Jeremiah Stocksdale.

Kouse, who has been a chef for over 40 years and does restaurant consulting through the Chef Therapy Group, said the bar is inspired by old-school tapas bars in Spain and Portugal. He said he had the founding idea of bringing Pequeños (meaning little ones) to the Urbana area to pay homage to his wife’s great grandparents who were from the Azores in Portugal.

“With two other likeminded people, it all came together,” Kouse said.

Thompson is the owner of The Medicine Shoppe in Urbana, and Stocksdale works for Bundy Baking Solutions in Urbana. The three of them are working to bring a destination to Champaign County.

“There’s a big resurgence of the downtown area,” Kouse said. “We would like to make it a destination to bring people there to let them experience what all the town has to offer.”

Pequeños Tapas and Wine Bar will have beer and wine from Spain and Portugal, among others varieties. Customers will be able to order wine by the glass or bottle upstairs as they try and share small plates of Spanish and Portuguese inspired dishes, Kouse explained. Ingredients for the small plates are sourced from Spain and Portugal.

“(I’m looking forward to) letting people experience cuisine they’ve never experienced before in an atmosphere that they haven’t experienced before,” Kouse said. “They’re going to be able to get multiple plates and try different things.”

The bar will also feature a tasting room and retail wine area downstairs, where customers can buy wine by the bottle, Kouse said.

He described the atmosphere of a tapas bar found in Spain or Portugal as a crowded area where every inch is being utilized. He explained they hope to bring that same feeling to Urbana. The bar will seat 25 people inside and 25 people outside.

“It’s an experience,” Kouse said. “We hope people come here and share the experience of it.”

For more information about Pequeños Tapas and Wine Bar, visit the bar’s Facebook page.

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