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Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless to Open Xoxo in Chicago's Wicker Park August 12th

Chef Rick Bayless is one of the country's most highly regarded chefs, specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine
Chef Rick Bayless is one of the country's most highly regarded chefs, specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine
Photo by Charley Gallay

Chicago-based Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur, Cookbook author and TV personality, Rick Bayless, is bringing his popular River North restaurant, Xoco to Wicker Park. The restaurant's opening date is scheduled for Tuesday, August 12th.

Bayless, one of the country's most beloved chefs of Mexican cuisine, opened his flagship Xoco on the 400 block of North Clark street, next door to his other two Mexican restaurants, the iconic Frontera Grill and upscale Topolobampo.

Xoco, which is the Aztec word for little sister, is Bayless' take on a quick-service cafe; which opens early, closes late, and offers a variety of delicious tortas, churros, and caldos. Described simply as "insanely good" by long-time Chicago food critic, Phil Vettel, the original Xoco won "Best New Restaurant of the Year" from Time Out Chicago in 2010.

Xoco promises to have basically the same menu as the original in River North, with a few added additional "snacks" plus 20 local micro-brews on tap. The new Xoco's main difference, however, is that it will be a full-service sit-down restaurant compared to the original which is counter service only. The new Wicker Park restaurant will also be open on Sunday and closed on Monday.

A few of the can't miss items at Xoco include:

Cochinita Pibil Torta: wood-roasted suckling pig with achiote, black beans, pickled onion, habanero
Baja Chicken Gunthorp Torta: chicken, homemade chipotle mayo, cabbage and radish slaw, black beans, queso fresco
Shortrib Red Chile Soup Caldos: braised Tallgrass shortribs, red chile broth, roasted vegetables, epazote, wild arugula, lime
Wood-Roasted Chicken Pozole Caldos: Gunthorp chicken, pozole corn, rich broth, crunchy garnishes, ground red chile, lime

Xoco, like all other Bayless restaurants, caters to vegetarians and the new location promises to be the same, and will most likely offer at least one vegetarian-friendly dish under each of the menu's categories.