The Chronicle reported yesterday that former Mettle GM Daniel Brooks is opening Licha's Cantina in the former Papi Tino's space. Eater spoke with Brooks about his plans for the space, as well as why he decided to make the move from GM at Mettle to owner of his own restaurant.
Brooks says the whole project came together "very quickly." He grew up in Mexico City, and his proposal to maintain the space as a cantina was the clear winner for Papi Tino's owner Alan Gonzales. Very few changes will be made to the building, other than installing heat and AC. Brooks thinks the East 6th cottage has "great character" and says Licha's decor will look like "Pancho Villa and a hipster had a baby."
Brooks started out in the industry with his own restaurant in San Antonio, and says, "I did everything you shouldn't do. I consider the money I invested as the equivalent to my college education." His time working at Vespaio and Mettle taught him the restaurant business, and now he feels ready to jump back in as an owner. "It was an honor to work with Bridget [Dunlap], who is such a savvy businesswoman," he says. He's also looking forward to working with Vespaio's Claude Benayoun as a business partner.
Brooks will be running the kitchen at Licha's, and he says the menu will focus on antojitos and cazuelas, with a rotating selection of daily entree specials. He wants the space to feel welcoming to folks who just want to come in and enjoy cocktails, too. Licha's is on track to open in early to mid-February, and Brooks says they're already hiring so they will be ready for SXSW.
· All Licha's Cantina Coverage [EATX]