More than seven years after its debut in Lakeview, modern Mexican restaurant Barcocina will soon reveal a bigger outpost in West Town. Known by many for its expansive patio near Wrigley Field, the company will open a second location in early October at 1814 W. Chicago Avenue, the former home of Tecalitlan, the family-owned Mexican restaurant that relocated in May to Lincoln Park after nearly 50 years near the corner of Chicago Avenue and Wood Street.
Chicago diners’ expectations have heightened since Barcocina first opened in 2015, especially when it comes to inventive Mexican cuisine. While Rick Bayless established a base in downtown Chicago, a genre gained additional visibility following the launch of Diana Dávila’s restaurant juggernaut Mi Tocaya Antojeria in Logan Square and Carlos Gaytán’s Tzuco in River North. The city’s general energy and enthusiasm for creative approaches forced restaurants across the city, including Barcocina, to up their game.
The new restaurant’s team hopes to highlight this growth with a sharing-focused menu that features both longtime hits like yucca tots and firecracker shrimp and new options, some of which have been test-driven in Lakeview, such as scallop ceviche bites with strawberry, and hibiscus “caviar.” Serving customers in Lakeview, executive chef Ramiro Piza also plans to veer from tradition by kicking things off with an Octoberfest-themed taco featuring jalapeño sausage.
“We like to view the taco as a vessel,” Adam Webb, Barcocina West Town’s general manager says. “[They allow] us to showcase a wide array of different cuisines all through the familiarity and love of a dish we all know so well.”
The building has seen significant changes including a 230-seat patio that’s 50 percent larger than the Lakeview location, says Webb. It’ll house two bars, one of which can be completely enclosed so it can operate year-round — a reaction to pandemic life. The cocktail menu isn’t yet finalized, but patrons can expect a selection of around 40 different tequilas, as well as an extensive assortment of cocktails (by the glass or pitcher), draft beers, and wines.
West Town is home to a competitive restaurant scene with new contenders, including forthcoming seafood-focused spinoff Big Star Mariscos from One Off Hospitality, seeking to carve out their own space in the neighborhood. But for fans of Tecalitlan, recent upstarts and expanding groups have big shoes to fill. Second-generation owners Karla Garcia and Juan Carlos Garcia Jr. were forced to relocate when the restaurant’s lease expired and its landlord sought to sell the building. They’ve since started a new chapter in Lincoln Park.
Barcocina West Town, 1814 W. Chicago Avenue, Scheduled to open in early October.