Richard Sandoval has gone somewhere that the Denver-based celebrity chef has never gone before, opening his first fast-casual restaurant in America in the Lower Highlands neighborhood.

La Güera, which held its soft opening Tuesday but officially threw open its doors this morning, replaces La Biblioteca, Sandoval’s tequila-bar concept, in the space at 1610 Little Raven Street next to Zengo, his recently redesigned Asian eatery. Sandoval oversees more than a dozen concepts in his international portfolio of eateries, and he likes to re-do or reposition restaurants every four or five years, he said in an interview.

His latest iteration in the space is a completely new idea, however — a “gastro cantina” that features the flavors of Mexican street food like tacos and tlayudas (the Mexican equivalent of pizzas) in a casual atmosphere with a full bar.

La Güera differs from some of his other more casual concepts in that customers just order at the bar and have their food brought out to them — like a Chipotle or Smashburger, but with Day of the Dead murals on the walls and a deep shelf of tequila offerings.

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