Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Upscale Mex Replacing 208

Photo from
Photo from

Restaurant will bring upscale Mexican cuisine back to Square

By Tad Wilkes, Nightlife & Entertainment Editor

News of 208 South Lamar closing its doors and its owners leasing the space to La Paz Restaurante & Cantina, a restaurant concept with locations in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida, may leave Oxonians curious about what the latter will bring to the Square food and beverage scene.

Jerry and Jean Jordan, owners of 208 and the physical space, will lease to La Paz, whose website describes it as “independently owned and operated.” The restaurant, founded in 1979, serves “Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine at its very finest,” the company states (menu images, from the La Paz website featured below).

La Paz isn’t the first to try upscale Mexican fare on the Square. Madre drastically remodeled the old Off Square Books location (which was Denton Furniture before that) on Van Buren several years ago to present its take on Mexican cuisine, at relatively high price points. It closed its doors, and that spot since has been home to Waltz and now McEwen’s.

The new restaurant also won’t be the first Mexican concept in the 208 South Lamar space. That location famously was Smitty’s restaurant for many years, which served Southern fare, and in the interim between its life as Smitty’s and the 208 South Lamar restaurant’s 10-year-run, a couple other businesses rented the space, including a Mexican restaurant, Los Compadres.