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Aaron Sanchez and John Besh to join forces for Johnny Sanchez restaurant 

  On the heels of the announcement that that Besh Restaurant Group (www.beshrestaurantgroup.com) is out at American Sector (945 Magazine St., 504-528-1940; www.nationalww2museum.com/americansector-sector) this July, John Besh is joining forces with fellow celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez (www.chefaaronsanchez.com) to open Johnny Sanchez — a "spirited" taqueria — in the former Ste. Marie space at 930 Poydras St.

  The chefs, who originally met when Sanchez lived in New Orleans and worked under Chef Paul Prudhomme, will not only combine their names (John[ny] + Sanchez, get it?) for the restaurant, but their distinctive, colorful cooking styles and commitment to sourcing Louisiana ingredients.

  "Ever since I first worked there, I have loved New Orleans: the food, the music, the spirit of the people, and the passion that the city evokes," Sanchez said. "To us, the time is right for this kind of restaurant in New Orleans — people are passionate about Mexican food and these bold, balanced flavors. John and I love to cook together and we are very excited to share this with the community."

  The restaurant will combine high-end Mexican food with a casual vibe and offer an extensive list of tequila, mezcal and bourbon.

  Sanchez is no stranger to developing menus for New Orleanians. He revamped the Southern-style menu at House of Blues (www.hob.com) restaurants in 2011.

  The first Johnny Sanchez is slated to open in Baltimore in August, with our local outpost arriving later this year.

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