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Tequila-Focused Restaurant To Open On First Street

The list of exciting new projects planned for 1st Street in the North Loop just keeps getting longer. The latest addition is a three-story tequila-focused restaurant, opening summer of 2023 in the former Alliance Française space across from the new Archive Apartments.

Counting the basement, the historic building (built as a hotel in 1885) will provide three levels of food and drink with a patio in the alley behind it.

It doesn’t have a name yet, but you can find it on Instagram and online under NOLO Loves Tequila.

It’s being created by local restaurateurs Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald, the duo behind Smack Shack, Burger Dive and The Lexington. With an emphasis on tequila and Chef Nick O’Leary helming the kitchen, the new concept will be open for dinner and weekend brunch.

“We’ve been wanting to open an elevated tequila bar for a long time,” said Josh Thoma in a statement. “While the pandemic may have put a pause on our progress, we’re thrilled to finally get the process started and can’t wait to share this exciting new concept with everyone.”

“We’re very excited to bring this new concept to the neighborhood,” said Kevin Fitzgerald. “When we first opened Smack Shack in 2013, the community embraced us immediately and they remain avid supporters to this day. That’s just one of the many reasons we chose to open another restaurant right here in our own neighborhood.”

This project joins a new Moulin Rouge-inspired French brasserie and Speakeasy bar being built two blocks away in the old Ribnick space, along with a boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and cellar bar right next door on 1st Street.

And just around the corner, the owner of Billy Sushi is at work on a hideaway bar in the basement of his restaurant. The bar, known as Billy After Dark (B.A.D.), is expected to open later this year.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop volunteer

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