After months of speculation of a revamp, Rick Bayless has finally revealed the plans for Xoco Bistro, his Wicker Park restaurant. The space will be known as Fonda Frontera with a focus on cocktails featuring mezcal and other Mexican spirits. The food will have an emphasis on flavors from Mexico City, and they’ve added a raw seafood bar.
Fonda will also add items from the wood-burning grill (carne asada, a burger), and there are some really great-looking daily specials. The cocktails are really a big deal, and they’ll offer margaritas, mug cocktails (think mules) and large-format drinks out of a carafe. There’s also a selections of micheladas. In keeping in with the neighborhood theme, they’ll have a rotating list full of quality value wines. Expect to see the changes starting today (Wednesday).
Bayless isn’t transforming the entire concept, but he's stressing it's a neighborhood spot. They’ll retain the craft beer selection, pouring beers from Bayless’ own brewery. They’ll also keep the same tortas and soups. Pastry chef Jose Ramirez will still make his churros and other desserts.
This marks the second time since the restaurant opened in 2014 that they’ve revamped the space on Milwaukee and Honore. Last year, they tweaked the name and changed the menus. While Bayless concepts in River North, West Loop and even O’Hare International Airport have attracted crowds, the Wicker Park space hasn’t fared as well.
See the full lunch, dinner and dessert menus, and drink list, below.