Editorial: Tears in our Tecates? Not yet | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: Tears in our Tecates? Not yet

When you think of the Cantina restaurant in Aspen, what’s the first thing that crosses your mind?

The food? The margaritas? The atmosphere? The outdoor dining? The location?

For us, the Cantina has represented an affordable restaurant that’s served up respectable Tex-Mex food and great happy hours for nearly three decades.

The Cantina also used to be the spot for post-election parties for local candidates and a gathering place to kick off organizations and the like.

For sure, the Cantina holds a lot of history and memories for many locals and visitors.

But changes are looming for the restaurant located at the corner of Main and Mill streets. The owners plan to convert the south end of the restaurant, which takes up a good chunk of dining space, into two separate retail spaces of 600 feet.

The rest of the Cantina, composed of the bar and restaurant, would include retiring the Tex-Mex concept in favor of what managing owner Aidan Wynn calls “modern Mexican” fare. The new eatery would be called El Rincon, which means “The Corner” in English.

The Cantina is expected to close in the next week or two for remodeling, anticipated to happen once the city issues a building permit.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in downtown Aspen over the past two decades, with longtime dining establishments and bars being converted into high-end retail that locals can’t afford. But we’ve also seen significant downtown changes, while initially met with skepticism, turn out to be a good thing.

The jury’s still out on whether the redevelopment will be good or bad for Aspen. But one thing is clear: The crane remains the town bird.

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