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The Scoop: La Cantina headed to Webster Groves instead of The Loop

December 21st 02:12pm, 2011

092211_amigosIn September, Amigos Cantina owner Robert Trevino informed The Scoop that he would be opening a Mexican restaurant in The Loop called La Cantina. Yesterday, however, Ian Froeb of the Riverfront Times reported signage at 35 North Gore Ave., in Webster Groves announcing the address as the future home of the Mexican eatery. The Scoop spoke today with Trevino, who confirmed the change in plans.

According to Trevino, he had been negotiating the terms of the lease for three and a half months with the owner of The Loop property (which will also, upon completion of construction, house Michael Del Pietro’s Italian eatery Tavolo V). “He would not budge on anything,” said Trevino, calling certain terms that the landlord wanted on the lease “not reasonable.” “We are lucky we found this building,” said Trevino of the space in Old Webster Groves. “The owner purchased it a couple weeks ago. He called me and I jumped at it.”

Trevino’s move puts La Cantina within eyesight of another Mexican restaurant, Milagro Modern Mexican. When asked whether he thought this would be good for both restaurants, Trevino responded in the affirmative. “I have a totally different concept. He is very modern Mexican; mine is the total opposite.” Trevino declined to elaborate but offered to discuss details regarding the La Cantina menu when the eatery neared its opening in mid-April. In a previous conversation with The Scoop, Trevino described the La Cantina concept as one that would highlight rural Mexican culinary traditions.

By Ligaya Figueras

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4 Responses to “The Scoop: La Cantina headed to Webster Groves instead of The Loop”

  1. Randy Says:
    January 1st, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Let me know the when it’s opened! Send me a link to the website. If you have authentic dishes like Menudo, for example, then I’m in!

  2. Amanda Says:
    May 15th, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Tonight was the opening night- what a disappointment. The service was horrible (we were there for 20 minutes before we even had water brought to our table)- our server asked us several times what we ordered. Our meal was taken care of because the manager realized that we had been there for over an hour and tables that were there before us (taken care of by a different server) had finished their meals already. I was not impressed by the food either- I had the steak taco’s and it was just steak, onions and cilantro with three small tortilla’s- no sides- for $12. I really like Amigo’s and hope that this restaurant gets there act together so that it doesn’t become one of the many restaurants that has failed in this location. We will try it again in a few months and hope that it will be a better experience; until then- we will either go to Milagro or Amigo’s for our mexican food.

  3. Karen Sloan Says:
    May 16th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    The food is inspiring…the service from the Bartender named Danielle was magnifcent. Very happy, always smiling. Margarita’s WOW!

  4. Harry Says:
    May 16th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Have to agree with Amanda on this one. Went with the family on opening night and we were horribly shocked by the prices and portions. La Cantina is apparently an attempt to fuse Mexican fare with the Spanish Tapas or “little plates” concept contrary to what Mr. Trevino claims about “rural Mexican traditions”.

    The menu is incredibly simple, one page front and back. Two types of tacos, about five or so appetizers or botanas, a few quesadillas and some other slightly more interesting options. The translation of those not familiar with Spanish of “La Cantina” is litterally “the bar”. Which might explain the sparse menu options. However, the concept that was apparently intended for the Loop is now squarely in a massive (albeit gorgeous) building in Webster.

    The menu is weak and uninspired offering literally nothing new except to double the price that would be charged for similar fare from an authentic Mexican eatery without the sides to boot. I tried the Carne Asada tacos and they’re exactly what Amanda describes. Marinated flank steak, two slivers of onion, and some cilantro served with microwaved corn tortillas. All for $12. No sides.

    The saving grace is the chips and salsa. The chips are warm and appear to be homemade. The salsa offered a respectable kick, exactly what the salsa from Amigo’s lacks. The house margarita does use Sauza Hornitos tequila but are poorly made.

    We would consider a return trip if the menu is significantly altered, food quality improves, and prices are brought back down to reality.

    Better bet, visit many of the fine, traditional Mexican eateries in the city on Cherokee St. You’ll get a better meal for half what you’ll spend at La Cantina.

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