WICKER PARK — The Boozy Taco Bell could be opening any day now with beer and wine costing $3, alcohol "Twisted Freezes" for $7.19 and some special "sharable" menu items.
The new Wicker Park Taco Bell — the first in the United States to serve booze — was originally targeted to open around Labor Day.
A corporate spokesman in the Bell's California-based headquarters indicated there would be a private preview on Monday for media folks but could not say when it would be open to the general public.
Located at 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave., the Taco Bell, formerly home to Tobaccosville, a smoke shop, passed a city of Chicago Public Health Department inspection on Sept. 3, records show.
No liquor license has been granted yet but a "Plan of Operation" will be posted online once the license is granted. The plan, hashed out with a neighborhood group and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), would include having a security guard or bouncer at the door and ending liquor sales by 10 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends.
Alisa Hauser discusses the compromises that were reached:
Reached on Wednesday, Bill O'Donaghue, a lawyer for Neil Borkan, who owns the Wicker Park Taco Bell along with 34 other stores, said he anticipates that the liquor license to be approved by city Liquor Commissioner Greg Steadman within the next few days.
Once approved by the city, Taco Bell's Plan of Operation will be posted on the city's website, joining 158 other Chicago business that are required to operate under more restrictive plans of operation.
Over the Labor Day weekend, the lights inside the Taco Bell were turned on, highlighting a menu mostly visible from the street and a sign for Dos Equis Mexican beer.
While the menu seems identical to a regular Taco Bell, the "Cantina" section also features three sharable plates: Chili Cheese Nachos ($3); Mini Quesadilla Nachos ($4); and Chicken Tenders ($5).
Finer print below the shareable plates section of the menu indicates that some items could only be available during the hours of "pre-party" from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. or "after party" from 7 p.m. to midnight.
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, rum or tequila).
The $7.19 alcohol-infused Twisted Freezes will be offered in Mountain Dew Baja Blast (blue); Cantina Punch (red) and Cantina Margarita (green) varieties. Patrons age 21 and over can choose to add a shot of rum, tequila or vodka.
Non-alcoholic versions of those same three drinks will cost $2.19 and $2.69.
Beer, wine and sangria will be $3 per glass.
The restaurant features an urban design and offers "a different look than any Taco Bell that you have seen," said Rob Poetsch, a spokesman for Taco Bell back in June when the plans were introduced to a local neighborhood group.
The urban, smaller dine-in concept features bright green metal chairs, long wooden bench-style seating running along one wall and a smattering of more intimate two-tops, as well as counter seating overlooking Milwaukee Avenue.
A carpet in the entryway of the Taco Bell touts the phrase, "Live Mas" from Taco Bell's marketing campaign.
The Wicker Taco Bell will not be open 24 hours and owners have not applied for a late-hour liquor license.
The new Taco Bell, as seen from the street on Tuesday. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Looking inside the new Taco Bell. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Interior rendering of the new Taco Bell [Taco Bell Corp.]
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