La Cantina Mexican Restaurant Opens in the Former Cheapside Cafe Downtown

La Cantina offers a self-described mix of "contemporary, authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails."

click to enlarge The exterior of La Cantina - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY CROWN RESTAURANT GROUP
Photo: Provided by Crown Restaurant Group
The exterior of La Cantina

The former Cheapside Cafe space downtown is getting new life thanks to local Crown Restaurant Group (Crown Republic Gastropub, Losanti, Rosie’s Cocktails & Pies).

It is now home to La Cantina, a restaurant offering a self-described mix of "contemporary, authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails."

Chef Johnny Curiel, recently the Executive Chef at Nada, is bringing his years of experience and "modern-meets-authentic" Mexican style to the new restaurant.

A description says "what differentiates La Cantina from other south-of-the-border-inspired restaurants in the city is its unique blend of authentic Mexican flavors and ingredients that are bold while being approachable and 100% gluten-free."

La Cantina started as a pop-up at Crown Republic Gastropub
 in July of last year, with Curiel and CRG's chef/owner Anthony Sitek at the helm. The menu there featured dishes including elote, Baja fish tacos and chicken mole. And the full restaurant will offer similar inspiration.

click to enlarge Inside La Cantina - PHOTO: PROVIDED BY CROWN RESTAURANT GROUP
Photo: Provided by Crown Restaurant Group
Inside La Cantina

“When we saw the amount of support and excitement around the La Cantina pop-ups this summer, we knew there was something special here,” says CRG's Sitek in a release. “With everything we do at Crown Restaurant Group, we believe that delicious, inspiring food should be an inclusive experience that people from all walks of life can share together.”

The restaurant menu currently lists dishes including tacos ranging from pastor or lamb barbacoa to smoked prime brisket or sweet potato. Starters run the gamut from mesquite cold-smoked tuna crudo and grilled oysters to queso fundido. Mains include carne asada, chicken mole and enchiladas verdes.

The cocktail program focuses on mezcal and tequila, featuring more than 50 agave-based spirits. La Cantina also carries Mexican coke, Topo Chico and horchata.

La Cantina is currently open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

La Cantina is located at 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown. For more info or to see the full menu, visit  crowncantina.com.

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