Get ready Omaha Santora by J. Rivera will be opening this fall and it’s a new beginning for a beloved local Omaha chef, Jesus Rivera.

There’s something profoundly satisfying about a culinary comeback story. Especially one that reignites the flavors and memories of a beloved local favorite. Jesus Rivera, the mastermind behind the much-missed Rivera’s Mexican Food, is orchestrating such a return with the opening of Santoro’s Mexican Restaurant.

From Rivera’s to Santoro’s

The exterior of a Mexican Restaurant

Nearly two years after Rivera’s closed its doors at 120th and Blondo Streets, Rivera has announced a new venture just a few miles east, near 86th Street and West Dodge Road.

The new spot, a 2,400-square-foot space that once housed a boiler room, promises not only a fresh start but also a continuation of Rivera’s culinary legacy.

Rivera, a man whose passion for cooking rivals the intensity of a summer sun, is diving back into the kitchen. “I love to cook,” he shared, a simple yet profound declaration from a chef who has spent nearly two decades honing his craft.

Rivera’s hands-on approach means he’ll be preparing most of the dishes himself, just as he did at Rivera’s, ensuring that each plate carries his signature touch.

Building a New Team

The new restaurant, aptly named Santoro’s Mexican Restaurant, will employ about 16 workers, including 10 servers and six kitchen helpers. This team will support Rivera as he brings his culinary vision to life once again. The space will also feature an outdoor patio, perfect for those warm Omaha evenings.

Pop-Up Success at JoJo’s Diner

a plate of Mexican food.

Fans of Rivera’s haven’t had to wait in total deprivation, though. For the past few weeks, they’ve been flocking to JoJo’s Diner at 13110 Birch Drive, where Rivera has been hosting pop-up events.

These events have been a testament to his enduring popularity in Omaha and the community’s hunger for his return. Updates and details about these pop-ups can be found on their Facebook page, serving as a temporary fix until Santoro’s officially opens its doors.

One thing is for sure, anticipation is building for the opening of Santoro by J. Rivera.

Anticipation Builds

Santoro’s Mexican Restaurant is slated to begin renovations soon, with permits expected in the next four to six weeks. If all goes according to plan, Rivera hopes to open by the end of the year, bringing his beloved flavors back to Omaha just in time for the holiday season.

Rivera’s journey is one of resilience and passion, a tale of a chef who couldn’t stay away from the kitchen for too long. As the anticipation builds, one thing is certain: Omaha is ready to welcome Jesus Rivera and his new venture with open arms—and eager appetites.

A Voice from Omaha Food Magazine

Jesus Rivera shared the initial Omaha Food Magazine article and wrote on his Facebook timeline, “Thank you Omaha for all of your love and support.” The response to his post was immediately felt by the Omaha community and his supporters across the globe.

Likes, shares, and messages of love and support poured in, highlighting the deep connection Rivera has fostered with his fans over the years. The outpouring of enthusiasm and anticipation underscored just how much Rivera’s presence has been missed in the local dining scene.

Bailey Quarles of Omaha Food Magazine shared her excitement about the opening of Santoro by J. Rivera:

“We’ve missed Rivera’s unique flavors and atmosphere. Jesus Rivera’s return with Santoro’s is the return Omaha needs. His passion for cooking and dedication to quality are sure to make Santoro’s a new favorite in the community.”

The excitement surrounding Santoro’s opening is palpable, with the community eagerly awaiting the revival of Rivera’s culinary magic. As the opening day approaches later this year, anticipation continues to build, promising a grand return for Rivera and a delightful new chapter for Omaha’s food lovers.

Stay tuned for more updates on the opening of Santoro’s Mexican Restaurant and get ready to once again indulge in the delicious Mexican food that only Jesus Rivera can create.

THANK YOU OMAHA FOR ALL YOUR LOVE & SUPPORT! ~ Jesus Rivera, Santoro by J. Rivera

Are you interested in reading about other Mexican Restaurants in the Omaha area? Check out our recent article about the best Mexican restaurants in Omaha.