Cantina 18 closing temporarily for expansion

Cantina 18 has outgrown its digs in Cameron Village and will close temporarily on June 14 for a major expansion and makeover project. Plans include the addition of a second story with an upstairs bar, covered balcony, glass elevator and private dining room that can accommodate large groups. Large windows capable of being opened on both floors will give the dining rooms an open air feeling.

Owner/chef Jason Smith hopes to reopen the new and improved Cantina 18 — version 2.0, let’s call it — in the fall. But Smith, whose 18 Restaurant Group also includes 18 Seaboard and Harvest 18, notes that he’s not about to mess with the formula that has made Cantina 18 (433 Daniels St., Raleigh; 919-835-9911; a Cameron Village hot spot since it opened in 2010: a seasonally changing menu of fresh, contemporary Mexican fare and margaritas.

Or as he puts it, “Cantina 18 will still be Cantina 18.”

Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Tune in to hear his radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF. Reach him at