I'm starting a new segment on the blog, Chicago Hot Spots. Whether they're up and coming or well established, I thought it'd be fun to document some of the "popular" spots around the city as well as give me a reason and motivation to get out and try some new experiences. I'm currently thinking posts will be bi-weekly; but let me know how often you'd like to seem them (and if you have any suggestions of places you'd like to see!).
The first has been a staple in Chicago for a few years now, Big Star. It's been ranked on some lists as one of the top 10 taquieras in the US. Strangely enough, it's not only known for it's food, but also for it's whiskey collection.
When we visited, we kept it classic with a nice cold, ice cold, pitcher of margaritas.
Tables and seating can be hard to come by. They're known for their dog friendly patio seating, but any time you come, unless it's a weekday afternoon, be prepared to wait at least an hour. I'd suggest putting your name on the list and go to a nearby bar for a drink. They'll call you when your table is ready.
However, there is a way around the long wait. You miss the excellent people watching opportunity, but the inside bar seating is first come, first serve. Grab a pitcher and wait for some seats to open.
Not only are the margaritas strong and smooth, but the food is also fantastic. Fresh made gaucamole is a must try.
And while appetizers are, well, appetizing, the tacos (and margs) are the real reason to come. All tacos are ordered individually, which gives the you opportunity to try different tastes. I opted for taco de panza (crispy, braised pork belly, tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion and cilantro) and taco de pescado (beer battered tilapia, chipotle mayo, cabbage, cilantro, and lime). Both equally delicious. It's hard to pick a favorite!
Word to the wise, err picky eaters, don't come and order something "plain". Ben's fish taco came out literally as just a piece of battered fish and a tortilla. So sad I couldn't even bare to take a picture.