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Banko Cantina Mexican Restaurant And Tequila Bar Opens In West Palm Beach May 11

This story has been updated with new information about the restaurant's lunch and dinner hours.

A new Mexican restaurant and tequila bar is set to open its doors on Wednesday.

Located inside the historic American National Bank building in downtown West Palm Beach, Banko Cantina quietly opens to the public May 11 at 7 p.m. It officially opens for dinner at 4 p.m. the next day—Thursday, May 12—and lunch service will begin in a few weeks.

The restaurant serves northern-style Mexican cuisine in a three-level space that features a rooftop bar, lounge, private dining area and 130-seat main dining room. 

Much of the landmark 1921 building's original elements—including wood, chandeliers and tiles—have been preserved. However, colorful street-style Mexican artwork that's been hand-painted onto the walls will also breathe new life into the space.

Restaurateur and co-owner Sam Sanchez grew up in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where meat-based dishes are popular and wood-fire cooking and smoky flavors are common. These elements will be seen in Banko Cantino's menu of tacos, steaks and mesquite-grilled skewers.

Executive chef Seth Kirschbaum took a recent trip to northern Mexico, working with Colectivo GN—a group of chefs who specialize in northern Mexican regional cooking—to be able to serve his own interpretation of the cuisine at the restaurant.

The menu he's come up with includes small plates such as chicken flautas; traditional dishes including paella, enchiladas and fajitas; and mesquite grilled skewers, ranging from carne asada to garlic mojo shrimp. For dessert, the restaurant will serve churros, Mexican flourless chocolate cake and more. 

Banko Cantina's beverage program consists of local and Mexican beer, more than 30 tequilas, and specialty cocktails, such as Passion Fruit Sangria and Micheladas. Sanchez also plans to host tequila pairing dinners, tequila tasting classes to teach others about his favorite spirit, and a visiting chef series with chefs from various regions of Mexico. 

Banko Cantina; 114 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach

Banko Cantina

Banko Cantina

Banko Cantina

Banko Cantina

Photos courtesy Banko Cantina