— A Taco Bell spokeswoman has confirmed that the fast-food chain has a franchisee who wants to open a restaurant that serves alcohol in Logan Square at 2432 N. Milwaukee Ave. The company is awaiting how discussion goes this week after a community meeting takes place today. Taco Bell debuted its Cantina concept in September 2015 in Wicker Park, the company’s first that sold beer and boozy slushies in the U.S. The restaurant also features an open kitchen and different food items. The opening brought national headlines, and Taco Bell has opened more across the country. The spokeswoman added that a second boozy Bell in Chicago is also planned for The Loop at 407 S. Dearborn St. DNAinfo was the first to report the news on the community meeting. So while the Wrigleyville location could close, there’s some good news for fanatics.
— Rylon’s Smokehouse has changed names to Windy City Ribs & Whisky. That’s the South Loop barbecue spot that opened in October at 67 E. Cermak Road from Derek Rylon (Batter & Berries in Lincoln Park). Management will stay the same, but they’re tweaking the recipes after listening to customer input. An employee said they will start offering beef ribs as a Sunday special. The name change is also a way owners can remind customers that they do have a bar.
— Big news out from Chicago’s neighbors to the north in Milwaukee. EsterEv, the restaurant inside Dandan, the Chinese-inspired restaurant from Dan Jacobs and Dan Van, earned a 4-star review from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It’s only the third time the paper has handed out such an honor. The restaurant is only open for one seating on Fridays and Saturdays and offers a tasting menu for two tables of 10. The other two restaurants that earned 4-star reviews were Sanford, from Justin Aprahamian, the 2014 Beard Award winner for “Best Chef: Midwest,” and Ardent from Justin Carlisle, a three-time Beard finalist for “Best Chef: Midwest.” Good luck on scoring a table.
— Chicago restaurant owners have been outraged over the city’s enforcement of window signs. Despite being private property, the city collects permit fees for painted window signs or lettering (that includes business hours and logos). The fine fluctuates, but the base rate is $200 per sign for those that take up 25 percent of the window. DNAinfo has dutifully chronicled the saga. Tonight, a community meeting hosted by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, police, and other city officials will address a variety of topics, including the signs. It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. today at the Wicker Park field house, 1425 N. Damen Ave.
— Customers flock to Wicker Park during the summertime and wait long lines to get into Big Star, One Off Hospitality’s taco bar with a huge patio. Music has been a part of the restaurant’s ambience, and on some days DJs will spin vinyl. One Off’s gone the next step by creating a record label, according to a news release. Big Star Recording Co.’s first release will be from an employee, Ben Clarke, who worked at Big Star for almost 10 years. Pre-order the “Americana-inspired” album from Quarter Mile Thunder here.