As if spring couldn’t get here fast enough, Big Star, Chicago’s beloved bourbon and beer-focused, taco-slinging, honky-tonk hangout is headed North to open its second full-service location, directly across from Wrigley Field. Helmed by One Off Hospitality Group, Big Star Wrigleyville will truly be bigger than ever, featuring two stories and 9,000 square feet of whole-hearted-taco-goodness, cheap drinks, live music and more — all debuting in time for Cubs Opening Day!
THE SPACE: Located within the forthcoming 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 will offer more to love than ever before, encompassing 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 87-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 383 guests. The second floor is available for hosting private and semi-private events, and both levels feature fully retractable siding for that quintessential Big Star outdoor dining experience.
“We are proud to play a small but beneficial role in this development with our new business partners, the Ricketts family,” says partner Donnie Madia Gianfrancisco. “We are also very excited to be part of the renaissance of such a historic, incredible area of the city and the new dining community there. Big Star has always been a neighborhood spot with an emphasis on honest food and drinks made with the freshest ingredients. Big Star Wrigleyville will be an extension of the same sensibilities and spirit.”
THE FOOD & DRINK: 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. Guests can expect the same Big Star favorites they’ve grown to know and love, like made from scratch guacamole or the Queso Fundido, a melted Chihuahua cheese dip featuring house-made chorizo and fresh rajas poblano peppers. The food menu is complemented by margaritas made with fresh lime juice, an expansive single barrel whiskey catalog, and of course, an array of cheap and delicious beer. For those who prefer their tacos on the go, a Big Star Wrigleyville taco take-out window will open later this summer.
"For me, the beauty of the food at Big Star is rooted in its simplicity,” says Executive Chef/Partner Paul Kahan. “Our focus is on serving as many guests as we can while still sourcing the freshest ingredients possible - from our hand-made tortillas to the hundreds of limes we fresh squeeze daily for our margaritas. Traditionally, Wrigleyville has been a hot dogs and wings haven, and we’re excited to bring Big Star's take on Mexican street food to the neighborhood.”
THE VIBE: Bringing the spirited soul of Wicker Park to Wrigleyville’s buzzing sports-centric neighborhood, Big Star Wrigleyville will evoke 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, Big Star Wrigleyville will also double as a performance space, showcasing live music periodically throughout the year including new projects from Big Star Recording Co., founded in 2016 which launched its first LP “Bucking The Tiger” by Quarter Mile Thunder in September 2017.
THE TAQUERIA OF THE PEOPLE: Unlike its Wicker Park counterpart, Big Star Wrigleyville will feature eight retractable TV screens 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.
“We’re trying to bring the Wicker Park soul over here to Wrigleyville. The tacos, the music, all the whiskey bottles, the $3 Lone Stars and the shot of the day – we’re bringing everything with us,” says Partner Terry Alexander. “We want to build another neighborhood taqueria that’s as fun and lively in the middle of January as it is during a Cubs-Dodgers series.”
Big Star Wrigleyville will open doors in time for the Cubs home opener in early April. The people have spoken, and they want tacos.