Folks still mourning the loss of Warehouse District happy hour favorite La Casita might perk up at this news: The team behind the shuttered Mexican drinks and taco hub are set to open a new tequila bar and Mexican restaurant.
El Patio Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Garden will open at 845 Carondelet St. by “late 2017,” according to La Casita proprietor John Michael Wade. The two floor restaurant was once the pool lounge Indulge Island Grill and most recently functioned as an events space for Marcello’s.
Wade says plans for the space include a downstairs indoor restaurant offering “elevated Mexican fare” under the guise of chef Justin Bruhl, and a large outdoor patio will have an abbreviated menu with a more casual small-plate format. As the name implies, the bar will stock a large selection of tequila and mezcal.
“This is something that I’ve wanted to do since La Casita (first) opened,” Wade said. “It’s kind of a dream come true for me.”
Bruhl comes from restaurant stints at celebrity chef Mario Batali’s restaurants on the East Coast as well as Compere Lapin and Maypop. He also runs the pop-up Matchbook Kitchen at Lower Garden District whiskey haunt Barrel Proof.
Wade says the upstairs space will likely be used for private events.
The outdoor tequila garden’s south-of-the-border ambience will be complemented by murals of Mexican haciendas commissioned by artists with New Orleans Paint + Design.
No changes are afoot at the La Casita Taqueria at 8400 Oak St., which opened in early 2016.