Owner Felipe Caro confirmed that Tuesday was Authentaco's last day near Ashland and Division. But the shutter is only the first domino for Caro, who also owns Picante located a few blocks west on Division. He's going to open a restaurant serving griddled burgers and loaded fries in the Authentaco space and then move Picante a door west into the former Delish diner space.
Take a breath, as that's not all. When crews finish the renovations next door at the former Delish, Caro said he'll replace Picante with Wicker Dogs, a late-night hot dog stand. They'll serve Vienna Beef products.
"I should have done this 10 years ago," Caro said, admitting that he didn't listen to his first instinct.
The new Picante, which should open by the end of the summer, will also feature items from Authentaco's menu and represents Caro consolidating his Mexican items. The new restaurant will make use of the space's liquor license. Tacos and tequilla are together again.
"You're going to have margaritas done right, not this [stuff] that gives you headaches the next day," Caro said.
Even though the burger spot will open first, Caro doesn't have an official name —he said he's down to two choices. This is a flurry of moves for Caro, who remains reluctant to provide any opening dates. He's learned a thing or two since last year, when he announced plans to open a Latin American-inspired bar/cafe in the Delish space. Those plans are reminiscent of Heisler Hospitality's Estereo, which is opening this week. Caro said funding problems doomed that project, but he's confident that everything will go smoothly for his battery of new projects.
The Authentaco space was originally a White Castle clone called Snappy Service System, and the old facade remains. Going with the burger theme, Caro's bringing back the old sign that hung in front of Delish over to Ashland. That sign's from the old Dewey's Hamburgers and Chili in Rogers Park. They'll also stay open late presenting late-night eaters a choice between La Pasadita with their burritos and tacos on one side of the street and burgers on the other.