WEST TOWN — A new taqueria named The Big State is offering Texas-style Mexican food at the southwest corner of Ashland and Erie avenues in West Town.
Located at 624 N. Ashland Ave., The Big State is owned by chef Eric Saavedra and replaces Gaudi Cafe, which relocated to 1141 W. Grand Ave. earlier this year.
Originally from Mexico, Saavedra most recently worked at a Little Village tortilla factory, El Popocatepet, before leaving to launch The Big State. The restaurant is named for the state of Texas, where the 30-year-old chef got his start working at a Mexican restaurant in Houston.
Though The Big State has only been open for a few weeks, Saavedra said that so far The Pastor, a spit-roasted pork shoulder taco, has been popular, though he is hoping one of his special dishes, a Mexican hot dog, takes off, too.
The Mexican hot dog costs $5.99 and is served in a bolillo bun that resembles French bread. The hot dog is topped with pinto beans, bacon, peppers, mayonnaise, hot sauce and drizzles of mustard.
While the Mexican hot dog, sometimes called a Sonaran hot dog, is listed under The Big State's house specialties — joining queso fundido and pickled vegetables — the eatery's main attractions are tacos and burritos.
The menu offers seven varieties of tacos, including fried tilapia, steak, ground beef, chicken and pork belly, as well as as a vegetarian "rajas con crema" taco, made with roasted poblano peppers and cotija, or soft crumbly cheese.
All of the tacos are $1.99 each; burritos are $5.99 each. Drinks include bottled Mexican pop and homemade horchata and lemonade.
Since the taqueria opens early, there's also an egg burrito with tomato and sour cream on the menu too.
The Big State, 624 N. Ashland Ave. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Phone 773-340-7037.
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