Popular East Atlanta eatery regains its liquor license

Cantina La Casita issued temporary permit

Last week, it looked as if it was going to be a dry summer for East Atlanta watering hole Cantina La Casita. The departure of one of the restaurant's partners left the taqueria and tequila bar without a liquor license.

Micki Silvestros, who co-owns La Casita with Pete Madincea, says the restaurant stopped pouring June 5, a few days after general manager Alan Raines quit.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with anything improper that we did wrong," Silvestros says. In Georgia, a liquor license is issued to an individual rather than a business, and La Casita's liquor license was in Raines's name.

"We reached an inconsistency in our corporate style," says Raines, who also co-owned East Atlanta's most upscale — and now defunct — restaurant, Iris. He says he pulled La Casita's liquor license to avoid "having ultimate liability for something that I don't have anything to do with."

But Silvestros, who had been working to get the license reissued in her name, recently got some good news. On June 12, the state issued her a temporary liquor license, allowing La Casita to pour again. Previously, she anticipated that the earliest the restaurant would be able to serve was late July.

Silvestros has plans to open at least two more restaurants in East Atlanta Village, which would make her the neighborhood's premier restaurateur. Honey's Kitchen, a breakfast and lunch cafe, likely will open in late June or early July on the corner of Glenwood and Flat Shoals avenues. In September, Silvestros plans to open Latitude 33, a steak and seafood restaurant, in the former Good News Cafe spot on Glenwood.

As for La Casita, Silvestros says that what would have been a major setback is now "just a bump in the road." The restaurant will host a customer appreciation day Mon., June 19, with food and drink specials, including $2.50 margaritas and $2 drafts.

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