Sad news in Albany Park as Ixcateco Grill, the quaint Mexican restaurant from chef Anselmo Ramirez that helped make Albany Park a dining destination, will soon close. Ramírez announced, both via Facebook and in a written statement from a spokesperson, that the last day of service will be Sunday, July 21 at 3402 W. Montrose Avenue. The statements didn’t provide the exact reasoning for the impending closure:
“We want to thank all of our faithful customers who have broken bread with us over the past four years. You will always be in our hearts. We hope to see you in the next few days.”
Ramirez, an immigrant who honed his craft while working under Rick Bayless at Topolobampo, opened Ixcateco in 2015. He brought an ambitious Mexican restaurant to a neighborhood more known for casual taquerias.
The restaurant was a family affair for Ramírez, a single dad. His young daughters initially helped in the front of the house while his mother made tortillas and mole in the kitchen. The food was affordable. It the restaurant was closer to downtown, Ramírez could have justified charging more for top-notch dishes such as carne asada.
Bayless, the chef with successful downtown Mexican restaurants, had a huge impact on Ramírez. In an emotional scene shortly before opening four years ago, Ramírez was nearly brought to tears after seeing a Bayless tweet congratulating him for opening his own restaurant.
Ramírez didn’t share what his next step would be. Chicagoans have nine days to visit Ixcateco before one of the city’s more respected Mexican restaurants closes.