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A quesotaco on a tortilla topped with guacamole.
Taquizo is open in Wicker Park with quesotacos and margaritas to go.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

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Cheesy Tacos and To-Go Margaritas Highlight Wicker Park’s Reborn Mexican Restaurant

Las Palmas has given way to Taquizo, a modern Mexican street food spot

After two decades, the owners of Wicker Park’s modern Mexican stalwart Las Palmas have made some changes, some due to the ongoing pandemic, some due to changes in the city’s food scene. This week, Las Palmas’ owners unveiled its transformed taqueria, Taquizo, with a fresh look and new menu with options like tacos de suadero, quesotacos, and more. It’s open exclusively for takeout and delivery, per Chicago’s pandemic ban on indoor dining.

Tables and chairs in front of a bar.
The once rustic interior now bears bright colors and a wall mural.

The menu from veteran chef Yanitzin Sanchez (Mas, Sabor Saveur, Mercado Cocina) and partner Richard Vallejo (Mercado Cocina) features both regular tacos and quesotacos, which are rolled in crisped melted cheese for a crunchy, salty bite. In response to 2020’s quesabirria boom, owner Maria Rivera says her team isn’t making goat. Instead they wanted to highlight a taco that’s beloved in Mexico but isn’t yet trendy in the U.S. — suadero, a cut of meat found between a cow’s leg and stomach. Another new taco spot, Taqueria Chingon, also is highlighting off cuts of meat. Sanchez confits the meat in pork fat and serves it with morita adobo, cilantro, and Spanish onion inside a handmade tortilla. Other taco options include carne asada, cochinita pibil, and al pastor; there are also burritos, bowls, and grilled carne asada fries.

Rivera did hold onto a few gems from Las Palmas — namely, its selection of margaritas that earned many fans over the restaurant’s tenure. Taquizo is currently offering lime, strawberry, and pineapple-guajillo margaritas to go.

A taco with meat and toppings.
Al pastor taco (adobado marinated pork, pickled pineapple)
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
A taco with meat and toppings.
Cochinita pibil taco (Yucatan-style marinated pork, achiote adobo, habanero pickled onion)

Taquizo will eventually feature two menus: its casual opening selection of antojitos (small, savory bites), tacos, and burritos will be featured in the restaurant’s front section when indoor dining returns; and an upscale menu featuring “culinary art” that’s still under wraps for the spacious glassed-in back atrium.

For Rivera, the pandemic has brought both loss and renewal. Her cousin Saul Moreno, chef and owner of Restaurante Cuetzala Gro in Rogers Park, died from COVID-19 in April at age 58. Despite the extreme challenges, this year gave River a chance to slow down for the first time in decades.

A dish of french fries topped with grilled beef and pickled onions.
Grilled carne asada fries

Though she was born and raised in the restaurant industry and spent years at the helm of Las Palmas with her brothers, including Marcos Rivera of Nuevo Latino restaurant Libertad in suburban Skokie, Rivera says she never felt like the business was hers. That’s all changed — she now sees the new restaurant and menu as a thank-you note to the customers that have supported her over many years.

“Everybody that comes in through those doors, I want them to leave with a big smile,” she says. “I want them to eat their food and be in love.”

Taquizo, 1835 W. North Avenue, Order online via Toast, Open noon to 9 p.m. Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Two small bottles of margaritas.
Taquizo features lime, strawberry, and pineapple-guajillo margaritas to go.
A bowl of cheese dip
Chipotle-smoked Chihuahua cheese dip (balsamic roasted tomato relish)
A bowl of roasted corn
Esquites, or crispy roasted corn (epazote cream, cotija cheese, chile piquin)

Taquizo

1835 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 289-4991 Visit Website
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