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Casa Borrega Opens on OC Haley

While families everywhere grill and grub out on hot dogs, patrons at Casa Borrega (1712 Oretha Castle Haley) will be celebrating Latin American cuisine. The long awaited opening of the Mexican restaurant arrives on Thursday, months after the owners established their space as a music venue and cultural center.


Artist Hugo Montero has been in New Orleans since the mid 1980’s, and his wife, Linda Stone, helped found the Green Project. The pair opened the space in an effort to continue growing the Central City thoroughfare, and to show southerners real Mexican food.


“It’s not Tex Mex,” Montero specified, referencing the food he ate in his native Mexico City. “We use blue corn, not flour tortillas. Mexicans in the interior don’t eat flour tortillas.”


However, they do eat eggplant, avocados, a wide variety of peppers, and a number of fish dishes. “It’s a lot of vegetarian food,” said Montero. “We have more than 187 kinds of peppers. But I’m going to try to make it more accessible for New Orleans.”


The rookie restaurant owner wants to source everything locally, which proves difficult. However, he found a place in Alabama to get the blue corn tortillas he will be using in their cuisine. Montero said they are going to remain as close to home as possible, despite regional challenges.


Montero and Stone also want to promote authentic Latin music, and continue to use the space as a way to support musicians in that genre.


“Latin music’s richness is just amazing. Mixed with Cuban, Brazilian, and the old school Mexican,” Montero said.


In March, the restaurateurs had a full house for the city’s inaugural Latin Jazz Fest. They have also hosted literary events that promoted cultural awareness, such as “Wet Books”, and they want to maintain that aspect of the business. Furthermore, Montero believes that more feet on the street will complement Oretha C. Haley neighbors such as Ashe Cultural Arts Center and Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center.


“My ambition is to do that. There’s no one open at night with the exception of Zeitgeist. And we will have drinks and music and sort of like a community thing,” explained the owner.


Montero will start taking orders Thursday at 5 p.m., so come out for authentic Mexican food and music.


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