Since opening its original location in 2009 at the apex of Chicago’s famed Wicker Park neighborhood, Big Star has served as a humble neighborhood hangout, offering a space for friends to gather over cheap drinks and solid street tacos. For nearly a decade, Big Star has garnered critical acclaim, been an industry favorite, and fostered a familiar space for locals and travelers alike. From the expansive catalog of rare whiskeys to a unique soundtrack curated from their ever-growing vinyl collection, Big Star Wrigleyville is prepared to carry on the legacy of the original location, ushering in a new era of all-around good times to the Wrigleyville neighborhood.
Located within the newly opened Hotel Zachary, a four-star development by Hickory Street Capital, an entity owned by the Ricketts family, (owners of the Cubs baseball team), Big Star Wrigleyville encompasses two stories and 9,000 square feet of prime taco territory. True to its summer patio-party roots, Big Star Wrigleyville carries on the tradition of al fresco dining, boasting an expansive 80-seat patio that overlooks the city’s iconic ballpark. Inside, Big Star regulars should feel right at home surrounded by decor reminiscent of the original Wicker Park location with restaurant and bar seating for 299 guests. The second floor features an additional dining area including a 20-seat wrap around bar, as well as spaces available for hosting private and semi-private events. Both levels feature fully retractable siding for that quintessential Big Star outdoor dining experience.
True to its origins, Big Star’s Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Julie Warpinski draw inspiration from authentic Mexican street food such as Al Pastor, Baja Fish, and Panza tacos using tortillas made in house daily. Keeping within neighborhood tradition, guests can look forward to a few Big Star slants on ballpark favorites, like Big Star Hot Chips. A cross between beloved baseball nachos and chilaquiles, Warpinski starts by tossing hand pressed tortilla chips in freshly made Arbol salsa, the coated chips are then generously topped with sour cream, radishes, onion and cilantro, resulting in the first ever Big Star nacho dish. Many of the same Big Star favorites will also take center stage, like made from scratch guacamole or the Queso Fundido, and made-to-order tacos. The food menu is complemented by margaritas made with fresh lime juice, an expansive selection of single barrel whiskey, and of course, an array of cheap and delicious beer.
“I’ve always wanted to put nachos on the menu, but it never quite fit until now,” says Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan. “We’re using thicker chips made from El Popo tortillas, so they soak up just the right amount of salsa, you can eat them with a fork or dive right in nacho-style. I like to eat them topped with our Al Pastor.”
Bringing the same sought-after grooves of Wicker Park to Wrigleyville’s buzzing sports-centric neighborhood, Big Star Wrigleyville evokes the same unassuming vibes as its original location. The taqueria’s eclectic soundtrack will range from classic country to 70s rock & roll, spun by a musically inclined bar staff to carry on Big Star’s legacy of fostering Chicago’s local artists and musicians.
Unlike its Wicker Park counterpart, Big Star Wrigleyville has eight retractable TV screens on display for prime-time game watching (purists needn’t fear, the TVs will be tucked away on non-game days). In order for the classic Big Star experience to translate authentically to the new space, all food and beverage pricing will stay consistent with the original location, on game days and non-game days alike.
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