WICKER PARK — Watch out Big Star, there's more tacos and Mexican fare coming to the 'hood, courtesy of famed celebrity chef Rick Bayless.
The southeast corner of Honore Street and Milwaukee Avenue will be home to a new Mexican restaurant that plans to cater to family friendly crowds that live in the neighborhood as well as people who come to concerts, Bayless told Eater.com.
Scheduled to open in March, the new restaurant, housed in an 1880s-era building at 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave. that's listed as a contributing structure to the Milwaukee Avenue Landmark District, will offer cuisine similar to to XOCO at 449 N. Clark St.
Bayless said the new location will be larger than XOCO, which opened in River North four years ago, and will offer offer table service rather than ordering at a counter before sitting down. "A bar component" with local beer on tap is planned, too.
Bayless, 59, who stars in the PBS show "Mexico — One Plate a Time," is best known locally for his Frontera Grill and Topolobampo Mexican restaurants, the latter of which again received a star from the prestigious Michelin 2014 Guide Tuesday.
An example of what's in store for area foodies when Bayless opens the XOCO like offshoot could be a fall salad, tweeted by XOCO Chicago Tuesday, containing greens, wood-roasted butternut, oyster mushrooms and pomegranate.
Adam Burck, executive director of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, said, "We are very excited that Rick Bayless has selected Wicker Park for the location of his newest restaurant location. Having a renowned local restaurateur locate here underscores the significance of local, independent businesses to the appeal and draw of our business districts."
For history buffs, work on the brick facade of the three-story brick building began last week and is expected to take three weeks, according to Radic Nowak from Continental Style Masonry.
"Over time cracks can occur and we are repairing loose parts with mortar," Nowak said.
The building, most recently home to Salud Tequila lounge, which closed last February, is owned by Newcastle Limited, which recently purchased several other Milwaukee Avenue buildings on the 1400 and 1500 block of the busy street, packed with retail shops, restaurants and bars.
Brennan Hitpas from Newcastle was unable to be reached to discuss the lease term for the new tenant or if there are any changes planned to the north side of the building.
Currently a taxpayer funded mural by Brendan Hudson, part of the WPB "Orange Walls" 2011 project, is on the Honore Street or north facing side of the building.
Jessica Wobbekind, program manager for the Special Service Area taxpayer district No. 33 confirmed Wednesday that Hudson's mural will be removed to make way for windows being added to the Honore side of the building.
"I am sorry to see Brendan Hudson’s mural go; it has been very popular and I hear reports from its neighbors that it is photographed frequently. But the murals were only ever guaranteed to be up for a year and not all of our 2011 murals remain. As sad as it is sometimes to see our public art come and go, it is the change that helps keep the neighborhood fresh and interesting," Wobbekind said.