Openings and Closings

Mexican Restaurant Banko Cantina Coming Soon to Downtown West Palm Beach

Banko Cantina, slated to open in mid-April in a historic building off South Olive Avenue, will specialize in Northern-Mexican cuisine.  

The transformed 13,000-square-foot space will feature a 130-seat main dining room on the first floor,   a second floor designed specifically for special events, and a 3,000-square-foot, partially covered rooftop with a 90-foot bar and seating for 150, along with a kitchen serving lunch and dinner from a special menu.

Co-owner Sam Sanchez is a Chicago restaurateur who was recently awarded Restaurateur of the Year 2015 from the Illinois Restaurant Association for his three Chicago-based establishments: John Barleycorn, Moe’s Cantina, and Old Crow Smokehouse.

This will be Sanchez' first South Florida enterprise, and much of the menu was inspired by his childhood in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

 To ensure authentic fare, executive chef Seth Kirschbaum spent time researching regional dishes during a trip to Northern Mexico with Colectivo GN, a group of chefs who specialize in Northern Mexican regional cooking.

As a result, expect to find a number of regional interpretations with a menu that serves to highlight the country's ranching culture, featuring plenty of mesquite-grilled meats and skewers. There's also a list of specialty tacos — everything from braised chicken to fish and lobster — each made using tortillas imported directly from Mexico.

The restaurant will also highlight an extensive tequila bar with a focus on handcrafted specialty cocktails, sangria, and Micheladas, as well as a selection of both local and Mexican beer. 

Banko Cantina is currently hiring for all positions, including servers, bartenders, bar backs, hostesses, line cooks, and dishwashers. To apply, send a résumé to Seth Kirschbaum at [email protected].  

Banko Cantina is located at 114 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Visit

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna