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A Massive Patio Taqueria With Pop Rocks-topped Churros Arrives in West Town

The Gringo opens in the former Grandview Tavern space on Grand Avenue

The Gringo’s back patio.
Barry Brecheisen

The sunshine’s providing perfect patio weather in Chicago, making it great day for one of West Town’s oldest patios to reopen. The Gringo has taken over the Grandview Tavern space at 1202 W. Grand Avenue, serving tacos and Pop Rocks-topped churros on a 80-seat private back patio. While the present weather is ideal for outdoor eat and drinking, ownership said they’ll bring out heat lamps with the hope of extending patio weather to November.

This is AMK Restaurant Group’s third restaurant, and they’ve been wanting to open a street taco spot for years, said AMK managing partner Steven Tsonis. The space has been around more than five decades. It’s a unique space with tied walls and a fully built out and detached bar. AMK saw a niche to fill and pounced when the patio became available.

While Tsonis’ favorite taco is the ancho-chili marinated carne asada, AMK partner Ryan Kowalis raved about the two vegetarian tacos, the potato and the poblano and mushroom: “I kind of think people put veggie items because they have to,” he said. “We didn’t want that to be the case.”

Gringo’s churros.
Barry Brecheisen

The two expect the churros to pop up a lot on customers’ Instagram feeds, and they know other spots, like Bodega in River North, have already ushered in the era of fancy churros in Chicago. They just wanted a fun item to enjoy outdoors. The Pop Rocks churros sounded like it wouldn’t work, Kowalis said, but it’s his favorite.

“You should have more fun while you’re eating something, especially when it tastes good,” he said.

AMK is still working on its replacement restaurant for Nosh & Booze in the West Loop. Tsonis said they’ve hit a delay. In the meantime, AMK has two more projects to keep the company busy. While diners wait for news on those new restaurants, Chicagoans in West Town can try The Gringo starting today for all their taco and churro needs.

The Gringo, 1202 W. Grand Avenue, open 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Wednesday and Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Nosh & Booze

838 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 733-3379 Visit Website

The Gringo

1202 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60642 (312) 265-1655 Visit Website

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