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Mirella’s Tavern in Wicker Park pays homage to its namesake, Mirella Franco, a member of the community whose legacy lives on through this neighborhood establishment. Owner and operator, Chef José Rivera’s journey from humble beginnings to the corner tavern is a story of passion, innovation, and dedication to creating unique dining experiences. His menu celebrates the rich tapestry of American cuisine with a global twist.  

From upscale bar food like Duck Confit Quesadillas and juicy burgers, to elevated entrees such as Charbroiled Pork Chops and Pan-Seared Jumbo Scallops, every dish on the menu reflects Chef José's commitment to quality and flavor. Drawing inspiration from cuisines around the world, including Mexico and Japan, Chef José crafts each dish with precision and care, ensuring a dining experience that caters to every palate. 

To start, we ordered the Angry Chef Famous Eggrolls, stuffed with roasted cauliflower and buffalo chicken. The affectionate ‘Angry Chef’ namesake hails from Chef José Rivera and over a week later, we’re still dreaming about this creation. Needless to say, they are highly recommended! 

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While the Chicago Gourmet Hamburger Hop Winning Burger was tempting to try, we opted for the Not Your Average Philly Cheesesteak. Mirella’s take on the classic East Coast staple contains no peppers but the secret blend of cheeses melts in your mouth (and on the torpedo roll) as your teeth sink into the savory delight. Served with hand cut fries, this sandwich is a hefty portion that is just as delicious warmed up for lunch the next day if you have leftovers. 

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The mains are a range of dishes from land and sea, including specialties from both coasts as well as Southern-inspired comfort food. While Mirella’s menu is a little all over the place, they do every dish well. Take the Peri Peri Roasted Chicken for example, where they roast free-range chicken to ideal tenderness while it marinates in a beautifully seasoned African marinade. Paired with purple mashed potatoes and long green beans, this perfectly portioned dish entered the ‘clean plate club’ at the end of the night.  

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My plus one and I are suckers for margaritas so naturally we both opted for the Spicy Lil Ting’ cocktail and sipped on multiple throughout the course of the evening. Dubbed the “Perfect Skinny Margarita”, the Spicy Lil Ting’ is a thirst-quenching concoction of jalapeño-infused blanco tequila, Passoã, triple sec and freshly squeezed lime juice in a chamoy and tajin rimmed glass.  

To cap off the evening on a sweet note, Chef José Rivera, recognizing that we couldn’t decide between the three desserts on offer, brought out a trio sampler: homemade brownies, banana bread pudding and the most heavenly of all, a cookie skillet. I think you know which one we’ll pick next time!  

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Mirella’s Tavern is located on the corner of Hoyne and Division in Wicker Park. With a sunny outdoor patio and ideal dog-watching, stop by Mirella’s for a drink and/or dinner starting at 4pm every day. Brunch lovers can get their fix starting at 10am Friday through Sunday.  


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