New regional Mexican restaurant and bar Old Pueblo Cantina opened last week in Lincoln Park in the former White Oak Tavern & Inn space. The space goes from New American to featuring dishes from Sonora, a Northern Mexican state that borders Arizona. It’s from Ballyhoo Hospitality, the same company behind Gemini and Walton Street Kitchen.
Old Pueblo Cantina, 1200 W. Webster Avenue, serves a dinner menu from executive chef Miguel Ortiz that highlights five varieties of “cheese crisps,” also known as “Sonoran quesadillas,” such as shrimp and pineapple (Fresno chili, cilantro, pickled red onion) and spicy chorizo (escabeche, lime crema). Taco platters feature house-made flour tortillas, the preferred tortilla of Sonorans, filled with ingredients like crispy red snapper (cucumber-pineapple salsa, cilantro yogurt). Soft or crispy corn tortillas are also available.
Sonoran cuisine calls for cooking over mesquite, and Old Pueblo Cantina is following suit. Diners can order pollo asado (roasted corn, avocado, mole poblano, lime), chili-lime shrimp skewers (chimichurri butter), and carne asada (skirt steak, charred onion, salsa verde) hot off the kitchen’s mesquite charcoal grill. Burritos, chimichangas, and two takes on chile relleno are also on the menu, and there’s a special menu for kids.
Margarita fans are in luck, as the drink menu features five classic and modern selections available by the glass or pitcher. Flavors include the “Old Pueblo Classic” (lime, agave, triple sec), which also comes in frozen form, “Lobo Loco” (cucumber, jalapeño, chili salt), and “Sonoran Sunrise” (passionfruit, raspberry, lime). Drinkers can also expect cocktails like the “El Roadrunner” (mezcal, blood orange, rhubarb, jalapeño), rosé sangria (tequila, strawberry, citrus), and a sizable list of agave spirits.
In-house director of hospitality Brianne Carden designed the 120-seat restaurant that bears a colorful mural of a desert sunrise on the side of the building. Exposed brick, wood furnishings, and bright Mexican decor like hand-painted tiles give the space a rustic sensibility.
Old Pueblo Cantina is open in Lincoln Park. Tour the space and get a peek at food and drinks in the photographs below.
Old Pueblo Cantina, 1200 W. Webster Avenue, Open 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday.