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Is it a Taco? Is it a Bao? At Baocos By CTA Western Blue Line, It's Both

By Alisa Hauser | August 18, 2015 9:53am
 Baocos at 1904 N. Western Ave.
Baocos, Now Open
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LOGAN SQUARE — A new fast casual stop across from the Blue Line's Western Avenue station blends Asian baos with tacos  — creating "baocos" that are attracting hungry Chicagoans.

The Latin-Asian fusion eatery named Baocos opened last Monday. It offers salads and ramen along with its namesake taco on a bao bun.

"So far, we've had a steady flow in the first week," said owner Ervin Emery, who was working alongside his team to fulfill orders for the dinner-time rush on Monday.

Alisa Hauser says a nearby spot also tried the baoco concept:

Among the crowds were Tim Blackburn, a Wicker Park resident who commutes via the Western stop.

Blackburn said he was on his "maiden voyage" of checking out the new dinner option.

"I got the ahi tuna baocos," said Blackburn, who was waiting for his number to be called after placing his order at the counter.

So far, the most popular dish at the 42-seat spot, with an extra 20 seats on a back patio, has been the "Roasted Belly," baocos stuffed with roasted pork belly, pickled slaw and hoisin glaze, Emery said.

Pronounced bow-kohz, Baocos is a fusion of burritos or tacos on steamed Asian Bao bread.

The restaurant's menu also serves up salads, ramen and made-to-order rice or quinoa bowls topped with steak, ahi tuna, chicken and other proteins.  Desserts include a skillet cookie topped with ginger ice cream, crispy Asian mochi ice cream coated in sweet corn flakes and "boabolini," soft fritters drizzled with sea salt and caramel.

Most meals are between $9 and $12.

Baocos with queso fundido and chips. [All photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Though not technically part of CTA property, Baocos is tucked under the CTA Blue Line Western "L" tracks and in front of the No. 49 Western bus stop.

Emery, who is also the CEO of The Melting Pot, a popular suburban fondue chain, said the proximity to public transit played a role in deciding where to open Baocos.

"I love the Blue line, the location. It's one of the busiest stops with a big bus stop right out front and in a great up-and-coming area between Wicker Park and Logan Square," Emery said.

Other restaurants nearby include Subway, Belly Shack, Plazzio's Pizzeria and McDonald's.

For commuters seeking breakfast, Baocos offers a burrito with scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and cheese, plus build-your-own options.

Baocos, 1904 N. Western Ave. Hours are 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Mon-Thurs; 7 a.m. - midnight Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday. Ph: 773-360-8085.

An order of Sticky Buns.  [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Inside Baocos.

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