Lake Street and Lathrop AvenueDevin Rose/Staff

The fencing has been put up and the turf is getting laid down in the outdoor space at what will be a River Forest offshoot of La Majada Mexican restaurant in Oak Park.

Jesse Haggar and his family own the Harrison Street restaurant that has been open since 1976. The new La Majada Express will have a smaller menu and will focus more on carry-out operations, Hagger told Wednesday Journal last week.

He said the restaurant, which is housed at the former Annie’s location at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue, will also have indoor and outdoor seating.

Changes to River Forest’s liquor control ordinance adopted by the village board in May make the family’s newest establishment the first in town to allow alcohol to be served with food outdoors. Haggar said he plans to talk with village officials this week to firm up details regarding alcohol service. The restaurant, he added, will not be a place for people to drink large amounts without eating.

Work on the restaurant’s kitchen is almost done and Haggar hopes it will open in a couple of weeks. He liked the location because it could accommodate an outdoor area for about 40 to 50 people.

He hopes those customers will sit under one of the umbrellas and enjoy a margarita or beer with their meal. The indoor area will seat about 20 people.

A new taco will make its debut on the Express menu that Haggar would only say was an old-fashioned recipe “from Grandma.” They’ll also have Mexican ribs, different flavors of salsa and an upside-down pizza that Haggar insists is not typical at other Mexican restaurants. He’s mulling the idea of a foot-long burrito as well.

If the River Forest location does well, Haggar said he’d consider expanding to surrounding communities like Berwyn. Haggar and his wife, along with his brother, will alternate working at La Majada Express so they can still be present at the main location.

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