The owner of Bar Takito in Fulton Market and Takito Kitchen in Wicker Park is opening a more casual restaurant in Lincoln Park. Takito Street is taking over the former Fiesta Mexicana space, as that restaurant closed in January after a 34-year run. Takito owner Mario Ponce said he’d been negotiating with Fiesta Mexicana’s owners for the last three years to take over the space at 2423 N. Lincoln Avenue. He’s shooting for a late spring or early summer opening.
It’ll sell tacos and a few items from the other Takito restaurants. Takito Street will be a full-service restaurant, but it will be more casual and faster compared to Ponce’s Wicker Park and Fulton Market spots. Ponce said the average check at his Fulton Market restaurant is $45 to $50. In Wicker Park it’s $26 to $30. He’s pegging the check average at this new Lincoln Park restaurant to be $18 to $23 so it can better serve students at nearby DePaul University and the locals surrounding the Fullerton/Halsted/Lincoln intersection. Ponce said he’ll keep the same high standards of sourcing at the new restaurant, despite the lower prices.
“It will be a lower check average with the same delicious food,” Ponce said.
Suddenly, that intersection, once full of college bars and fast-food spots, is generating interest from bigger restaurant names. Lincoln Common, the development taking over the Children’s Memorial Hospital site, has announced additions with Velvet Taco and Philz Coffee. Galit, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant, should soon open and it’s one of the most anticipated new restaurants of 2019. Parson’s Chicken & Fish opened a second Chicago location in the area. LA’s J. Fall Group opened Nighthawk: AM as the California-based company opened in 2017. The restaurant is listed as temporarily closed, reopening in April.
“When we opened Bar Takito, it was crickets,” Ponce said of his Fulton Market restaurant’s 2014 debut. “We knew that the area was going to pop and it was just a matter of time. I have the same feeling in Lincoln Park.”
Fiesta Mexicana was more of a traditional Mexican restaurant. Ponce hopes its customers will patronize Takito Street, but they’re different concepts. He wants the Lincoln Park restaurant to feel like an outdoor Mexican market. It’ll have a back room that will have screens playing foreign films. They’re designing the restaurant with social media in mind. There’s a hallowed out — vintage, not the newer redesign — Volkswagen Beetle near the bar. There’s also a photo booth. Ponce hired D + K Architects to remodel the space.
“We are going to do something very cool,” Ponce said.
Fiesta Mexicana closed in mid-January, two years after founder Lucy Matthew died. The family continues to run an Uptown location. There are other Mexican restaurants in the area, like the legendary Taco & Burrito Palace No. 2 and Allende, but Takito Street has a liquor license for margaritas. He hopes there’s plenty of room for everyone on a bustling area of Lincoln Park. Check back for updates as the opening approaches.