A River North lunchtime salad spot has a new after-hours identity hawking tacos-in-a-bag and other late-night treats. This month, the Taco In A Bag Late Night Pop-Up began taking over “salad joint” Mixed Greens’ space at 308 W. Erie Street from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, dishing up creative, comforting after-bar eats out of the walk-up space. The pop-up is ongoing, so there’s no closing date.
Attention-grabbing menu items include the original bagged taco itself, the “Big Jim Reeves,” stuffed with chorizo country gravy, tomatillo sour cream, pepper jack cheese, and cilantro, and cheeseburger nachos piled with beer-braised ground beef, three-cheese sauce, potato straws, deli pickles, and “Not McDonald’s Special Sauce.” Hungry innovators can build their own taco in a bag, choosing from a selection of proteins (spicy mushroom gravy is available for vegetarians), cheeses, garnishes, and sauces. The full late-night menu is available below.
Taco In A Bag was originally conceived as a food truck, according to co-founder Tim Brown. After an “elaborate dance” with the city, he and co-owner Patrick Bertoletti (of America’s Got Talent fame) decided that restrictions on hours, parking, and operations were too stringent and they needed to get creative. Mixed Greens, which closes at 8 p.m. and is owned by a friend of Brown’s, presented the perfect solution.
Brown sourced LED panels that snap into the storefront and spent about $3,000 putting in a walk-up window — within 45 minutes his team can convert the salad spot into into a taco stand. Taco In A Bag also operates a permanent restaurant at 4603 N. Lincoln Avenue, which offers a larger menu that includes desserts and experimental dishes. Brown hopes to expand to more neighborhoods in the future.