Michael Ortega, who has had the Tex-Mex cantina Pico de Gallo on the northwest corner of 15th and South Street for six years, told me over the summer that he wanted to branch out. He'll be getting his wish in the next couple of weeks, now that he has a line on a liquor license.

He won't go far -- right across the street, into the southwest corner of 15th and South.

Here's how it will play out: The main operation of Pico de Gallo, which will be more refined in cuisine and decor (and will include a full bar), will occupy the southwest corner. The present Pico de Gallo, where beer is served, will be set up as a takeout-delivery operation called Pico To Go with a lower-priced menu (most dishes under $6.50).

Lousy economy or not, there seems to be a lot of restaurant projects in the works for 2009. I'll post a rundown on the blog Wednesday morning, and I'll field restaurant questions in my noon-hour chat.