After four years of packing in hungry taco obsessives in Wicker Park, Antique Taco is spreading its wings to a second location—on the south side. Owners Rick and Ashley Ortiz will be the latest successful restaurateurs to venture to Bridgeport, Rick's ancestral neighborhood, when the restaurant hopefully opens this spring at 1000 W. 35th St.
"For a long time, we didn't know if we wanted to do another Antique Taco," Ashley Ortiz says. "But after almost four years later it feels like the right time. Everyone is ready to see what else we can do."
What else they can do is take over small freestanding building and a large corner lot that was once home to a gas station as well a Mr. Submarine. The space itself is small—they'll employ counter service and a walk-up window—but the surrounding lot is so big that it'll hold a 100-seat patio and a parking lot. They're even hoping to hold antique car shows and farmer's markets.
Food-wise, chef Ortiz will slim down the menu a little and serve single tacos, unlike the original, on metal trays instead of antique dishware. He'll incorporate more family recipes and nods to the neighborhood, such as more spins on authentic Mexican tacos in addition to the creative tacos with Midwestern ingredients at the Wicker Park location. He's getting an al pastor spit and is contemplating cooking enchiladas. It will also serve alcohol and drinks like the original, including beer, margaritas and agua frescas.
Inside, they'll decorate the fully-gutted space with a different selection of antiques. Ortiz says he feels that the original has more of a feminine feel and this one will be more masculine, using the space's gas and service station history as inspiration.
Rick Ortiz's family has been in Bridgeport since the 1950's and the couple originally planned to open the original location in the neighborhood. Now, nearly four years later, they're heading back home for a second restaurant, near other standouts Pleasant House Bakery, Maria's Community Bar, and The Duck Inn. "Everyone in Bridgeport is really excited," he says. They hope to open in time for White Sox opening day.