Latin Lolita

The chef from Napa’s beloved restaurant, Meritage, has gone Mexican.

Carlo Cavallo hasn’t left Meritage, and he still calls Northern California home, but he has recently been spending a lot of time at Town Square, specifically.

Former Border Grill and Pink Taco executive chef, Tacho Kneeland, has joined Cavallo in the kitchen, and after a string of delays, Lolita’s Mexican Cantina opens July 15.

“We have two way-overqualified chefs,” says the man behind the project, Eric DeBlasi.

DeBlasi says Lolita’s will have an atmosphere similar to Señor Frog’s, “but with better food, and more interactive.”

The food will also be affordable: While Cavallo’s cooking is at a premium in wine country, he and Kneeland developed a menu without high-end pricing, including a range of tacos for under $3, tableside guacamole and a plate of five chicken empanadas for $8.50, and a ceviche trio for $11.95.

Located above Nu Sanctuary, Lolita’s second-floor space offers seating for 275, plus a dance floor, stage and DJ booth. Outside, a small patio looks across to Rave theaters, and plans for a walk-up takeout window are under way.

DeBlasi is quite confident the venture will be a success: The restaurant isn’t even open for business but he is already looking to expand to other markets and expects to be in at least six other cities by this time next year. Opens July 15, noon-2 a.m. Sun.-Tues., noon-4 a.m. Wed.-Sat.,