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The Early Word on ¡Ay Chiwowa!

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¡Ay Chiwowa!
¡Ay Chiwowa!
Photo: Timothy Hiatt

Though receiving some harsh criticism last month in the Reader, Billy Dec's Mexican dive-bar, ¡Ay Chiwowa!, has found its stride since opening in February. While many customers enjoy the late-night taco tavern's DJ scene and extensive tequila selection, others are skeptical of the high prices and uninspired cuisine. Here's the early word on ¡Ay Chiwowa!:

The Good News: On, food blogger Amanda Topper raved about the chicken torta: "This savory sandwich was by far the best food item of the night because of the juicy chicken coated in adobo seasoning. The bread was perfectly crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. I thought it was interesting they topped the sandwich with refried beans, but I totally dug it. Definitely a must-try." [The Ghost Guest]

The Bad News: Eating for Sanity had some choice words for this menu item misstep: "The quesadilla was awful. I would never recommend this dish. It is made using a corn tortilla and overly stuffed with queso fresco, chorizo, and maybe potatoes. I honestly couldn't taste or see any potato. The cheese when melted and mixed with the chorizo turned the dish into a complete oily mess." [EFS]

The Layout News: Red Eye Chicago thinks the space leaves something to be desired: "Ay Chiwowa's narrow confines and separate back lounge make the long room feel segmented, and it's hard for drinkers seated at the bar and diners at the tables to interact with each other—not always ideal for the 'see and be seen' crowd." [REChi]

The Service News: A visit from blogger Mr. Margarita left him feeling well taken care of: "In addition to the great food and drinks, was a very impressive staff. Each one paid close attention to how the guests were treated. From the server to the bus person, each one was at the top of their game on our visit. Being personable and polite can go a long way in the mind of a customer." [MM]

The Ambiance News: Food blog is confused by the concept: "This is a bar with a split personality. Billy Dec said this would be a dive bar, but he has certainly classed it up. You won't find graffiti, sticky floors, or pbr here. You will find a sleek sophisticated space with a large bar and some high top tables. It has pitchers of beer, as every dive bar should, but it also has bottle service. Ay Chiwowa has one of the coveted 5am liquor licenses, so I think with that in mind they want to offer a bit of everything to the late night crowd." [TheKittchen}

The Margarita News: Several Yelp users complimented the batched cocktails, but were less enthusiastic about the price: "The margaritas are VERY good. They have the ingredient quotient down to a science. If I didn't know better, I would have thought it was from scratch, but all the fixins were pre-mixed in a keg like system, who cares I loved it. Will I drink them all night? No. At 13 bucks I don't think they offered enough bang." [Yelp]

The Portion News: Foursquare users leave some suggestions for future diners: "Eat before you go there." "Food tastes great but beware of child sized portions. Come hungry, leave hungry." [Foursquare]

· All ¡Ay Chiwowa! Coverage [~EChi~]
· Peer Inside Billy Dec's Ay Chiwowa!, Now Softly Open [~EChi~]
· ¡Ay Chiwowa! [Official Website]

¡Ay Chiwowa!

311 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 312-643-3200 Visit Website

¡Ay Chiwowa!

311 W Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL