Table Talk

Quirky Local Cantina serious about tequila

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Lorrie Cecil/ThisWeekNEWS
Leanna McKenney tends the bar at the Local Cantina, 1423 Grandview Ave. in the Grandview Center. The new eatery features casual Mexican food and top-flight tequila in a quirky environment.
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By ThisWeek Community News  • 

George Tanchevski describes his new restaurant basically as a taco truck with bar stools.

His latest eatery, the Local Cantina, is expected to open next week on Grandview Avenue.

The laid-back place with a rustic look will offer a casual menu consisting mostly of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, dips and salsas. Tacos will be in the $2 to $3 range and everything else will be priced under $7.

Grandview Avenue has no shortage of full-service restaurants. Tanchevski said he’s counterprogramming.

“We are looking at ourselves as a bar with food rather than a restaurant with a bar,” he said.

He also likes the fact that the place is a little quirky, starting with the hubcap challenge: Those who bring in an original hubcap win a prize. The bar is built on a foundation of rehabilitated doors and each table is draped with burlap that’s embellished with the restaurant’s signature bushy mustachio. There’s also a rare attraction: a skee-ball game.

But there’s a very serious side to Local Cantina in the form of its beverage program. General manager Frankie Heath said the place will offer several premium tequilas, featured in tasting flights or one of the signature margaritas. There will be 16 craft beers on tap and many small-batch whiskeys.

Local Cantina is just the latest in Tanchevski’s restaurant portfolio, which includes La Fogata and Local Bar in the Short North, Graffiti Burger and several Aladdin’s Eatery stores. In fact, Little Cantina is adjacent to Aladdin’s Eatery, which Tanchevski moved to a corner storefront in the Grandview Center.

Local Cantina will be open for dinner only weekdays and lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 614-488-6146.

 

Rich McClusky and Brian Fuhrer are just the latest restaurateurs who are upbeat about the future of the Brewery District.

McClusky and Fuhrer are opening McClusky’s Grille in the former Handke’s Cuisine spot, 520 S. Front St. The sunken storefront, which was briefly Encore, has been vacant for more than three years. The two-story, 8,500-square-foot space is under renovation and should be open in six weeks or so, McCluskey said.

“To be honest with you, we’re not in a big hurry because we want to do it right,” he said.

It joins a group of spots just south of Livingston Avenue, including Via Vecchia, World of Beer, Shadowbox Cabaret, Double Happiness and White Rabbit, set to open in the former Tommy Keegan’s storefront.

McClusky was general manager of Howl at the Moon, which was part of the Brewery District during its heyday of the mid- to late ’90s and the early 2000s. But the luster faded when other entertainment areas, most notably the Arena District, started popping up across the region, he said.

The owners will maintain the classic look of the space by preserving the patterned ceiling, pronounced wooden accents and large bar. The lower level, which accounts for 6,000 square feet, will be used for private functions.

The menu is still under development, but will consist mostly of made-from-scratch fare using regional ingredients. McClusky said there will be many plates for sharing and they will be moderately priced.

“I believe in giving a good plate of food for the dollar,” he said.

The beverage list, meanwhile, will celebrate the popularity of signature cocktails and craft beer, he said.



 

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