Cantina Laredo is the latest restaurant operator planned to open in the new $65 million Uptown Birmingham entertainment district in Birmingham, Ala.

Dallas-based Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc. said this week that its 34-unit Mexican casual-dining chain will open a new two-story restaurant there in early 2014. It will join other brands in the project, such as Texas de Brazil Churrascaria and Atlanta-based Octane Coffee Bar and Lounge.

CRO chief executive  John D. Harkey, Jr., said the Birmingham project was a good fit for Cantina Laredo.


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“We continue to pursue locations where our modern Mexican restaurant will be a fit with the modern life of a city,” Harkey said in a statement. “With the city’s growth alongside our own, it certainly is an exciting look into the future.”

The restaurant will be located below a $3 million, 40-by-20-foot, high-definition video screen, the company said. It will include a rooftop patio that will be enclosed for year-round video viewing and special events.

The Uptown entertainment district is part of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center Complex. It features exhibition space, meeting rooms, a 19,000-seat arena, a concert hall and a theater. More restaurant, bar and nightclub leases are expected, officials said.



In February, a 260-seat Todd English P.U.B. location opened in the project’s 294-room Westin Hotel. In May, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex said Daniel Simmons and Benjie Shirah, owners of the popular Atlanta restaurant The Ivy and Nashville eatery South, would open their third restaurant in Uptown.

Privately-held Consolidated Restaurant Operations operates Cantina Laredo units in the United States, London and Abu Dhabi. The company has 114 total restaurants, including such brands as Black Oak Grill, Cool River Café, Silver Fox, Good Eats, Lucky's and III Forks.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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