Diana Dávila has finally shared some details about her new Mexican restaurant, as the ex-Cantina 1910 chef is ready to reveal her location. Dávila is taking over the Catalpa Kitchen space in Logan Square and she’s calling her restaurant Mi Tocaya. She's hoping for a February opening at 2800 W. Logan Blvd.
The space is in great shape and Dávila said all she will do is "Mexicanize" the interior. She’s excited to try out dishes like a lamb barbacoa served with a salsa negra. A variation could make it on to Mi Tocaya’s menu, as will three to four tacos, a steak burrito and a few larger plates—like the barbacoa or carnitas—that would serve a group. These larger items would be served with traditional accompaniments like homemade tortillas, rice and beans and more.
The food’s flavors should evoke memories, as Dávila employed her self-described "Midwest Mexican" cooking style at the now-shuttered Cantina 1910 in Andersonville. She takes being a Mexican cultural ambassador seriously, enjoys the energy of working with other Mexicans in the kitchen, and making food their families ate when they were younger. While plating and presentation are important, she wants to focus on cooking: "I love making food pretty, but it’s really about sharing the culture," Dávila said.
She joked and added: "I’m not deconstructing a ***kin’ taco."
They’ll also serve alcohol, probably a mix of canned beers, but also a few kegged cocktails, again designed so Dávila can focus more on the food versus mixing a drink. Perhaps she learned from Cantina 1910’s stumble, as the Andersonville restaurant was blasted early on for not having a margarita. Worry not: Dávila plans on serving a kegged version, as well as a Cuba Libre, which is much like a rum and cola.
Dávila was the opening chef at Cantina 1910, the ambitious contemporary Mexican restaurant that closed in August after less than a year of operation in Andersonville. Right after her former employer announced their shutter, she hinted that she was ready to open her own restaurant, but the lease wasn’t signed yet.
What’s behind the name? The Spanish slang refers to a friend who shares the same name. It gives credence to everyone having a twin or other. Dávila has put on many different hats, from chef to wife to mother, and the term fit. That’s despite mild objections from Dávila’s husband, who freaked out a bit after Rick Bayless released his beer of similar name.
DNAinfo was the first to report the location of Dávila’s restaurant.