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El Patio Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Garden to open in Warehouse District 

Owners of La Casita to open new restaurant

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The team behind the shuttered Warehouse District happy hour favorite La Casita will open a new tequila bar and Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood in fall.

  El Patio Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Garden will open at 845 Carondelet St. by "late 2017," according to La Casita owner John Michael Wade. The two-floor restaurant once was the pool lounge Indulge Island Grill and most recently functioned as an event space for Marcello's Restaurant & Wine Bar.

  Wade says plans for the space include a downstairs indoor restaurant offering "elevated Mexican fare" by chef Justin Bruhl, and a large outdoor patio with an abbreviated menu of more casual small plates. The bar will stock a large selection of tequila and mezcal.

  "This is something that I've wanted to do since La Casita (first) opened," Wade said.

  Bruhl comes from restaurant stints at celebrity chef Mario Batali's restaurants as well as Compere Lapin and Maypop. He also runs the pop-up Matchbook Kitchen at Lower Garden District whiskey haunt Barrel Proof.

  Wade says the upstairs space likely will be used for private events.

  The outdoor tequila garden will have murals of Mexican haciendas by artists with New Orleans Paint + Design.

  No changes are afoot at the Riverbend La Casita Taqueria (8400 Oak St., 504-826-9913; www.eatlacasita.com), which opened in early 2016.

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