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Mas Alla del Sol to Serve Infused Tequilas, Mezcals on North Broadway

By Benjamin Woodard | March 14, 2013 7:30am

EDGEWATER — Grilled salmon, chicken mole and infused tequila cocktails are only a few of the items on the menu at the neighborhood's newest Mexican restaurant, Mas Alla del Sol.

Owners Adan and Mirella Moreno, who opened Lincoln Square's Los Nopales eight years ago, plan to soft-launch their latest venture Friday for dinner.

The couple began work on Mas Alla del Sol last summer after Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) courted them to the neighborhood, they said.

Mirella Moreno, 38, said buying the vacant building at 5848 N. Broadway for their second restaurant was a victorious moment for the family of five, who started Los Nopales with years of restaurant experience but little money.

Her husband, Adan, still worked two jobs, as a chef and a server, in the first months of starting the business.

Some nights they would only make $35.

"When we started Los Nopales, we didn't have enough dishes to serve the food," she said.

The Morenos said they almost gave up, but made the tough decision to go all in. Adan Mirella quit his jobs and worked on Los Nopales fulltime.

He said he "didn't know how to cook Mexican food" when he first opened. He was used to working at more upscale joints, like the Palmer House and River North's Wildfire.

She told her husband, "We lose everything, or we win."

And they won.

Mas Alla del Sol "is big for us," she said. "We started from nothing."

Now Los Nopales serves more than 200 people on a Friday or Saturday night.

And Adan Moreno, 40, is making entrees like ensalada de verdolagas, a salad with a lime vinaigrette, and a Mexican lamb shank dish, marinated in a light tomato-chipotle sauce.

Their new restaurant is named after Mexican singer — and Mirella's favorite — Joan Sebastian, who sang a song titled, "Mas Alla del Sol," meaning "Beyond the Sun" in Spanish.

To start, the restaurant will be open 5 to 10 p.m. most days and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

"When you work a lot," said Mirella Moreno, "you can do all your dreams."