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Warehouse District Mexican restaurant La Casita to expand to Oak Street this month



Warehouse District Mexican restaurant La Casita (634 Julia St., 504-218-8043; is expanding to the Riverbend neighborhood later this month with a location at 8400 Oak St. (504-826-9913).

  John Michael Wade opened the cozy Mexican joint on the bottom floor of a Julia Street townhouse in 2013. Sandwiched between a yoga studio and several art galleries, it offers a short, simple menu of appetizers, fresh salsas, tacos, burritos, margaritas and house-made juices.

  The new La Casita takes over the 4,000-square-foot corner house that formally held Squeal Bar-B-Q.

  "It looks like a completely different place in there," Wade said, referencing the extensive renovations on the building, including knocking down a center wall between the dining rooms and expanding the central, wraparound bar.

  The new location's menu will offer tacos filled with slow-cooked pork, pickled cabbage and ancho chili crema and a vegan version with roasted portobello mushrooms and corn, pico de gallo and avocado. Corn will be ground in-house to make masa for tortillas, Wade said.

  "We'll be doing everything that we do at the downtown spot but a lot more, too," Wade said. "There are a lot of things that we can do now that we can't do at Julia Street. (At the Oak Street location) we'll do a lot more seafood and a lot of grilled meats."

  The restaurant will feature a larger bar program, but Wade says diners can expect similar daily happy hours and margaritas and specialty drinks made with freshly squeezed juices as are offered at its first location. Nonalcoholic drinks include cinnamon-flavored Horchata and several types of agua fresca.

  La Casita is scheduled to open on Oak Street Feb. 15, Wade says, with the possibility of an earlier soft opening.

  No changes are set for the existing Warehouse District space.

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