Melrose has a hip new hangout to know about. Durango Cantina has hit the famous Los Angeles street offering cocktails, a rustic-chic look, and Mexican food from a prominent chef and big hospitality group.
Durango Cantina opened last Friday, April 28 at 7661 Melrose Avenue, with food from chef Alex Currasco. The former Bee Taqueria lead, who earned that restaurant a Michelin Guide Bib Goumand with his West Adams taco omakases, is now on Melrose cooking foods specifically from the north-central state of Durango in Mexico, between Sinaloa and Moneterrey. Currasco also spent time at Osteria Mozza and Scratch Bar, and worked with Ricardo Zarate at Once in Las Vegas.
There are staples on the new Durango Cantina like guacamole and chips, a fundido, and albondigas to share, as well as a full array of taquitos, flautas, salads, and cocteles and aguachiles. Mains include a six-hour braised lamb shank in the style of a Durango wedding feast, chipotle-glazed beef ribs, grilled carne asada, and more. There’s even a full slate of cocktails, from classic margaritas and palomas to mezcal negronis and rotating one-off drinks like the Valentina with tequila, coconut, cinnamon, mint, and lime. The opening menu is below.
The new Durango Cantina is the work of the busy Boulevard Hospitality Group, one of greater LA’s biggest nightlife and restaurant consortiums. The group is perhaps best known for Yamashiro in Hollywood and the nearby TCL Chinese Theatre, though they also own and oversee spaces like Sugar Factory, sports bar 3rd Base, Downtown’s serene Japanese restaurant Kodo, and Orange County projects like the reborn Royal Hawaiian. Spencer Kushner of Boulevard Hospitality Group oversaw the design of Durango Cantina, pulling in lots of light wood, Mexican clay dishes, cactus, and desert-rustic artwork, though the highlight of the place will certainly be the swinging worn saloon doors at the entrance.
Durango Cantina is now open at 7661 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046, serving dinner from 4 p.m. to late, Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). On Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant opens at 11 a.m.