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The shrimp tacos at Pasqual's Cantina in Verona photographed in 2013. 

Amber Arnold

An upscale taco restaurant in Middleton from the owner of the three area Pasqual's Southwestern-style restaurants is on hold after a lease deal fell through.

Benjamin Roberts had planned to open Penca Luxe Tacos & Craft Margaritas at 1818 Parmenter St., and hoped to have it open by now, but said he had to terminate the restaurant's lease after getting "pretty well along the way."

He declined to discuss the details about why the deal didn't work out, but said he's on the lookout for a different location. "This concept has legs and will do very well wherever it lands," he said.

The designer taco restaurant was planned for the ground floor of a new building at the intersection of Parmenter Street and Hubbard Avenue.

Roberts said he'd been wanting to do a new concept for several years, and with the new place planned to focus on traditional Mexican food and not mix in Southwestern fare.

The name Penca comes from the leaf that gets chopped off the agave, the plant turned into tequila.

Roberts closed Pasqual's on Monroe Street in 2016, but still owns three other locations: Verona, East Washington Avenue and at the Hilldale Shopping Center.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.