Denver has got a brand new Mexican restaurant that’s just hit the scene, and we couldn’t be more stoked. Mexican street food is taken to new heights by the owner, Dana Rodriguez, who, if you haven’t noticed, has really taken the Denver restaurant scene by storm. Not only does she have her own line of Mezcal, but she’s also the new owner of Cantina Loca, plus she’s the executive chef behind the improved food of the new Casa Bonita.
Dana Rodriguez grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico and came to Denver in 1988. She worked her way through different facets of the hospitality industry here, starting her career as a dishwasher at Panzano where she met Jennifer Jazinski who helped elevate her to the talented James Beard-award nominated chef she is today. Since then, she’s worked at Rioja andWork & Class, she’s designing the new menu for Casa Bonita.
The concept is Mexican street food as authentic as it is contemporary. To start out, try one of their snacks (fritangas) like queso fundido with pico de gallo and served with tortilla chips or go for their chicharrones and salsa, crispy pork rinds with salsa borracha. They’ve got tacos served with juicy carnitas or spicy beef barbacoa or try their shareable plates like their pollo adobado or their al pastor lamb plate. For dessert, they’ve got flan, churros, and tarta de carlota de limon.
Insider tip: don’t leave without giving their cocktails a try! Mezcal is looking to be the most popular spirit of 2022, and if you’re interested in the smoky flavors of Mezcal, try their New Old Oaxacan, with Rodriguez’s own brand of Mezcal, Doña Loca Espadín, mixed with Mexican cane sugar, bitters, and lemon twist. Another trend that Cantina Loca is experimenting with on their menu is zero proof cocktails, so give their spin on a Horchata a try with cinnamon, coconut milk, and almond.
As of now, they’re closed on Monday and Tuesday. Friday and Saturday they’re open from 4pm to 11pm and Sunday through Thursday from 4pm to 10pm.
Where: 2880 Zuni St. Denver, CO 80211
[featured image by supermegaloca via instagram]