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Octavio, Now Open, Gives Modern Mexican Another Try in Andersonville

Will it succeed where Cantina 1910 came up short?

Octavio is named by poet Octavio Paz.
Barry Brecheisen
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Modern Mexican gets another chance to succeed in Andersonville starting today as Octavio Cantina & Kitchen tries to satiate the neighborhood with brunch everyday, fresh tortillas, and creative cocktails. The restaurant, from the owners of Lady Gregory’s — a longtime neighborhood Irish pub down Clark Street — is an ambitious addition to the area inside the former Acre space at 5310 N. Clark Street. As Chicago’s Mexican restaurants continue to raise expectations, Octavio wants to win over both loyal fans of the genre and those who don’t care about the cuisine’s regional differences.

Crews have spruced up the space, restoring original finishes and enlisting the talents of two local artists. There a 30-foot mural of Mexico and a painting of Octavio Paz, the famous poet and restaurant’s namesake. Feather Nolan of Daft Interiors helped design the 6,000-square-foot space. There’s a chef’s counter in back and 13-foot-high ceilings.

Octavio hopes to succeed where Cantina 1910, another modern Mexican restaurant once located a few blocks south on Clark, failed. Take a tour around the space below and see if ownership can make the neighborhood happy.

Octavio Cantina & Kitchen, 5310 N. Clark Street, (773) 293-1223, open 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The exterior of a restaurant.
Crews livened up the facade.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
The main bar at the front of the space.
The round tables near the bar provide more of a lounge atmosphere.
The front rooms are good for groups.
There are two dining areas at the front of the restaurant near the bar.
The restaurant has space for 180.
The above quote, “The world is born when two people kiss,” is from Octavio Paz.
This painting of the restaurant’s namesake, Octavio Paz, was crafted by Cecilio Garcia.
Artist Chris Silvo created a 30-foot map of Mexico using textiles.
There are a number of metal screens that divide up the space.
Barry Brecheisen

Octavio Cantina & Kitchen

5310 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 293-1223 Visit Website