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Boozy Wicker Park Taco Bell Renderings Revealed (PHOTOS)

By Alisa Hauser | June 3, 2015 11:29am

WICKER PARK — Wicker Park's proposed Taco Bell with alcohol will look a lot different than the chain's other spots, according to renderings provided by the company.

"It's a different look than any Taco Bell that you have seen," said Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell, who described the urban, smaller dine-in concept as "a different way of looking at the brand."

Rendering of a new Taco Bell, set to open at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave. this summer. [Taco Bell Corp.]

The restaurant, at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave., will be modeled after a similar concept the company has in Tokyo, and will feature an open kitchen, exposed brick and bar seating.

In April, Taco Bell opened an "urban" restautant in Tokyo, which led to people camping overnight in order to try the shrimp and avocado tacos first, according to reports.

Lincolnshire-based franchisee Neil Borkan plans to install prism glass in the front window and incorporate 100-year-old exposed brick walls into the interior.

The effort will bring Taco Bell closer to the building's original architecture than previous tenants such as smoke shop Tobaccosville and before that, Batteries Not Included, a sex toy and party shop.

Pieces from local artists will be featured inside.

Poetsch said the menu will be the same as a regular Taco Bell, though food will be served in open baskets as opposed to the typical wrapped up, ready-to-go style.

Ordering will take place at the front counter, walk-up style, including for the beer, wine and mixed alcohol freezes (basically fruity slushies that include vodka and rum).

In a statement, Poetsch said, Borkan "is ensuring that alcohol is served responsibly by requiring that all team members be trained to National Restaurant Association Guidelines and by hiring a third party secret shopper vendor to monitor alcohol sales."

Alcohol consumption "will be restricted to inside the restaurant, and a new cup design will distinguish between non-alcohol and regular beverages," Poetsch said.

Unlike other Taco Bells, the Wicker location will not be open 24 hours and owners have not applied for a late-hour liquor license. 

Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) said last week that he would like to explore adding a "plan of operation" to the license, for added safeguards.

The Taco Bell is expected to open this summer.

Poetsch and Borkan will discuss further plans for the location with the Wicker Park Committee at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Rendering of an ordering counter, with an "open kitchen" at new Taco Bell. [Taco Bell Corp.]

The new Taco Bell will open at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave. (pictured above) this summer. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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