Just in time for Taco Tuesday, Casa Azul Restaurante & Cantina has opened a new location in downtown Iowa City at 335 S Gilbert St. The first Casa Azul in Coralville, owned by Carlos and Allysa Tijerina, is known for its authentic Mexican food, and its 99-cent tacos on Tuesdays.
Making sure Casa Azul’s food and atmosphere reflect his native Mexico has always been a priority for Tijerina, who grew up in the coastal city of Veracruz. The restaurant is named for the Mexico City home of the great painter Frida Kahlo, which has been converted into a museum dedicated to the lives and works of Kahlo and her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera. For the new location, the Tijerinas partnered with Jackson Zapata and Yiannis Assimakopoulos, who own the nightclub Bardot, which is located next to the new Casa Azul.
Zapata told Little Village that he and Assimakopoulos have been friends with the Tijerinas for a few years.
“We like how they work — they care about the customers and they offer a good product,” Zapata said. “Their food is traditional and fresh.”
Zapata said people who come to the Gilbert Street location will find the same food and have the same experience they’ve had in Coralville.
“Same menu, same specials,” Zapata said. “It’s a different location, but everything else is the same.”
And unlike a lot of downtown restaurants, Casa Azul will having free parking available. Limited free parking (it is downtown Iowa City, after all).
“We will offer parking to our customers after 5 p.m.,” Zapata said. “It’s right next to us, and there is room for about 20 cars.”
Casa Azul in downtown Iowa City will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to midnight on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.