It didn’t long for Fuel/Hi Hat/Balzac owners Leslie Montemurro and Scott Johnson to turn around the former Good Life (1935 N. Water St.) and make the space theirs. And the space is also open: BelAir Cantina (tagline: “Mexican-style fare with a California vibe”). The tacos served here are in the style of L.A. taco trucks; the margaritas are made with free-squeezed lime juice. You build your margarita by choosing the tequila – there’s no shortage of options. Speaking of tequila, you can get a shot with a chaser (of Sangrita, grapefruit soda, Red Bull, lemonade, beer, or all of the aforementioned). There’s also the option of a tequila flight. On the food side, the accent is on house-made – salsas, sauces and marinades made from scratch. The menu’s brevity will allow them to mix things up as they decide. You choose from seven-plus fillings for the tacos and tostadas – carne asada, carnitas (crispy pork), grilled chicken, seared shrimp and others ($2.39-$3.89 each). Same deal with the burritos and bowls ($6.89-$9.29, with rice, beans and salsa). A handful of appetizers and salads drive it home. As for additions, Montemurro says Korean tacos will join the lineup this week. Their approach to changing the interior was to make “subtle design element” adjustments. They added cedar planking to the walls, painted, rebuilt the bar. Food-service hours: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-midnight; weekends 10 a.m.-midnight.
Unless you’ve been living in Cleveland, you’ve noticed that Alterra Coffee’s Prospect cafe (2211 N. Prospect Ave.) has been under construction. The purpose of the work was to expand the seating area and construct an “outdoor room.” And until now, Prospect also never had a hot food menu. To celebrate, the Alterra guys are throwing a Grand Opening/Milwaukee Film Festival After Party this Thursday, Sept. 30. It’s a free shindig, and events are scheduled from 2 p.m. on. Some highlights: a coffee-tasting championship beginning at 2 p.m.; live music by Bahía at 8 p.m.; and spoken-word poetry at 9:30 p.m. The other pertinent things: food, wine and beer. Sept. 30, 2-11 p.m.
Pabst at Pabst
One of these years, I will get to the annual Retro Beer Night at the Pabst Mansion (2000 W. Wisconsin Ave.). I’m mentioning it in Dish on Dining because there is a food component. Just hang on for a second and I’ll expand on that. Beer stations – showcasing those immortal names (Pabst, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Blatz) – will be set up on the mansion’s first and second floors. (Soda, too, can be had for the nondrinkers in the crowd). So you’ll be able to wander around the viewing areas of this 1889 museum/former beer baron homestead. Tables will be set up outside the mansion, as well. As for the Dish angle to this, they’re not serving canapés to nibble daintily while sipping a Schlitz, pinky raised. No, there are far more appropriate edibles for quaffing brewskis – brats from Usinger, and candy and nut mixes from Quality Candy/Buddy Squirrel. Oct. 8, 6-8 p.m. Reserve your ticket in advance by calling 414-931-0808. Nonmember ticket price: $25 in advance; $30 at the door.
Hey, people: Look for more Dish on Dining on Thursday!
Wait! Don’t stop reading. I’m on Twitter! Follow me @ann_christenson
If you spot any restaurant openings or closings, post it on the comments section of my column, or e-mail me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.