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Wicker Park and Wrigleyville Can Now Reserve Big Star Patio Seats Via Tock

Plus, a VIP paczki with fancy winter truffles and gold

A fancy powdered paczki
This is one fancy paczki with truffles and gold.
Rare Tea Cellar/Nolan Farrell

Big Star starts taking reservations in Wicker Park and Wrigleyville

Things continue to change for Big Star, the iconic Chicago tacos-and-whiskey spot in Wicker Park and Wrigleyville. The taco spot now offers reservations via restaurateur Nick Kokonas’s (Alinea, Next) portal Tock, according to a news release. The Wicker Park patio — one of the city’s most popular — will still welcome walk-ins, but Tock will allow folks to jump the line. There’s also a variety of curated experiences, such as the “Pappy 12 Old Fashioned Experience” that features the eponymous cocktail stirred by a bartender who will offer some history and mythology behind the Pappy Van Winkle brand. Cubs fans can reserve booths with food during game days at Wrigley, and there’s also standard reservations for parties of one to six. The times have changed for Big Star, one of One Off Hospitality’s biggest hits since it opened about 10 years ago. It was a big change when Big Star began accepting credit cards. There goes the neighborhood.

This paczki has fancy winter truffles

Chef Rafa Esparza (Finom Coffee, Dorian’s) and Rare Tea Cellar are up to their fancy antics once more. After their part in creating those $500 doughnuts for ComplexCon, they celebrated Fat Tuesday the Chicago way with paczki. This time, they teamed up with Mom’s, the Politan Row vendor (known for tonkatsu sandwiches). They created 30 “VIP paczkis” make with 23-karat gold flakes, shaved truffle, hazelnut nougat cream, truffle honey, powder black truffle sugar, and black truffle shavings. Mom’s fried and assembled the doughnut, using RTC’s luxurious ingredients. They aren’t for purchase, but Esparza said they’ll be sent to big-name food folks, such as Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Kumiko’s Julia Momose. There were about $100 of gold flakes, and about $200 of truffles on each paczki. This could be a precursor to a fancy doughnut operation for Rare Tea Cellar and Esparza.

Iconic Italian restaurant Sabatino’s meets its maker

The building that once housed legendary Northwest Side Italian restaurant Sabatino’s, along with its entire block between North Kenneth and North Kilbourn in Old Irving Park, is slated for demolition, according to Block Club Chicago. The restaurant at 4441 W. Irving Park Road closed in late 2018 after 41 years. Northwestern Medicine purchased the site from Chicago-based GW Properties, and neighborhood officials plan to soon hold community meetings where neighbors can offer feedback solely on project plans, but the sale itself is a done deal.

Fast-casual chain Cosi again files for bankruptcy

Boston-based fast-casual chain Cosi filed for bankruptcy this week for the second time in four years, Restaurant Business Online reported. The company put itself up for sale and closed 30 locations in December and reportedly owes $30.7 million in secured debt, but is now under new leadership and is slated to open new locations in the first half of 2020. The chain currently operates four Chicago locations in the Loop, along with a suburban outpost at the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview.

Popular Chinatown dim sum spot temporarily closed

Popular Chinatown dim sum hotspot Tang’s Garden Restaurant is temporarily closed for remodeling at 1826 S. Canal Street. There’s no word when they’ll be back, as no one’s answering the phone at the restaurant.

FINOM Coffee

4200 Irving Park Road, , IL 60641 (312) 620-5010 Visit Website


4441 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 283-8331 Visit Website

Big Star

1531 North Damen Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 235-4039 Visit Website

Tang's Garden Restaurant

1826 South Canal Street, , IL 60616 (312) 226-1826 Visit Website


1939 West North Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 687-9824 Visit Website

Politan Row

2445 Times Boulevard, , TX 77005 (713) 489-2546 Visit Website


630 West Lake Street, , IL 60661 (312) 285-2912 Visit Website

Big Star

, , IL 60613 (773) 857-7120 Visit Website


953 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 Visit Website


1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website