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Zandru's Tapas Bar and Restaurant

The interior of Zandru's Tapas Bar and Restaurant, photographed last summer.

Zandu's, a Spanish tapas restaurant that opened in April on State Street, has turned into Palmas Bar & Lounge, serving Latin food.

Owner Alberto Santos, who initially did a major remodel of the space at 419 State St., for Zandru's Tapas Bar and Restaurant, made some cosmetic tweaks before reopening it Jan. 12 as Palmas.

"We have more Latin American food, more like food from South America, Central America, and the Dominican Republic, too, where I am from," Santos said.

Santos, who is partnered with Abdallah Lababidi, who owned Palmyra Mediterranean Grill in the same space for two years before Zandru's, also brought on two cooks as partners.

Palmas serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with prices geared toward students, Santos said. Breakfast items run from $2.75 to $9.99, lunches from $2.75 to $12.99, and dinners from $7.99 to $14.99.

"This is food where they can save. Sometimes tapas are more exclusive, the cost is a little high," he said. "The food now is more affordable, it's more casual."

Breakfast items include baleada, a Honduran dish that features a tortilla stuffed with mashed and fried red beans, cheese and cream; and a Dominican fried egg sandwich called friquitaki that has salami and cabbage.

The lunch menu offers Honduran-style fried tacos; a Dominican traditional chicken and rice, paella-like dish called locrio; fried tilapia with fried green plantains; empanadas; and fried pork chops.

Dinners feature pastas, fajitas, quesadillas, and a Honduran fried chicken dish called tajadas con pollo. There's also a curious entrée called old clothes, which is shredded beef and rice congri, which is Cuban-style rice and beans.

Santos opened a Dominican restaurant called Punta Cana in 2012 on the Beltline where Grand Pagoda used to be, and closed it after a year, saying he wanted to move the business Downtown.

In 2016, he opened Mr. Torta's, a small, counter-service restaurant on Cottage Grove Road. He did all the renovation work on that place, too, then sold it to his partners last year.

Before Palmyra, the State Street space was the longtime home of the Yellow Jersey bike shop. Remodeling is Santos' main line of work. He also owns a retail business, Kitchen and Bath Solutions.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.