Carlos Gaytan, the highly-acclaimed former chef/owner of Mexique, plans to open two restaurants this summer inside the former’s Roy’s space in River North. Tales of Carlos Gaytan is a 12-seat tasting menu restaurant, while Tzuco is a 120-seater with a more casual vibe with small plates and a patio. Gaytan, the first Mexican chef to enjoy Michelin-star success — Mexique earned a star in 2013 and 2014 in West Town — is shooting for a late-July or early-August opening at 720 N. State Street.
Like at Mexique, Gaytan will emphasize Mexican flavors but with a French touch. He feels the restaurants will be a good way to mentor Mexican chefs. Gaytan made the announcement on Friday on Instagram. He made a few jokes in Spanish with Barrio chef Katsuji Tanabe. El Universal first reported the story.
Roy’s, the Chicago outpost of Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi’s restaurant chain, closed in April 2018. Mexique closed in May 2018. Gaytan promised to share more details on Tuesday afternoon, as he flew to Mexico on Monday where he has kept busy. Last year, he vowed to return to Chicago to open a new restaurant, and now it looks as if he’ll make good on that promise.
While modern Mexican cuisine has been booming in Chicago with the likes of Mi Tocaya Antojeria, Quiote, and Ixcateco Grill, Mexican tasting menus are a rarity. Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo, Frontera Grill, and Lena Brava offer multi-course set menu options. But the casual option, which looks to have a patio friendly for tequila and mezcal drinkers, should draw customers. Tzuco, which the Tribune noted, is an abbreviated name for Gaytan’s hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico.
Stay tuned for updates.