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Rick Bayless' Xoco Bistro In Wicker Park To Reopen As Fonda Frontera

By Joe Ward | November 9, 2016 2:45pm
 Xoco Bistro in Wicker Park.
Xoco Bistro in Wicker Park.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless' Wicker Park restaurant Xoco Bistro will be relaunched with an emphasis on neighborhood vibes and Mexican spirits. 

Xoco Bistro, 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave., will be rebranded as Fonda Frontera beginning Wednesday, Bayless said in a news release. The new restaurant is inspired by Mexican "fondas," Spanish for local inns, Bayless said.

"Like the fondas in Mexico City — those homey places serving classic, local food — ours is warm and comfortable, and embodies the essence of Frontera: Mexican spirit, local heart," Bayless said in a statement. "Our goal is to make Fonda Frontera the best neighborhood Mexican restaurant in the city. It is, after all, in my neighborhood."

Nachos at Fonda Frontera in Wicker Park. [Provided]

Bayless, 62, who stars in the PBS show "Mexico — One Plate a Time," is best known locally for his Frontera Grill and Topolobampo Mexican restaurants.

Xoco Bistro was Bayless' first full-service restaurant outside of his Clark Street trio of Topolobampo, Frontera Grill and Xoco in River North.

Opened in 2014, Xoco Bistro changed its menu last year after slow business, especially during the week. It opened on an uncrowded block on Milwaukee Avenue.

Bayless did not elaborate on why he is relaunching the Wicker Park restaurant.

The new Fonda Frontera in Wicker Park will include a raw seafood bar. [Provided]

Fonda Frontera will include a raw seafood bar serving ceviche, cocteles and oysters. New craft cocktails featuring Mexican spirits will be added to the mix, though you'll still be able to order a Topolo margarita, Bayless said. 

The churros are staying on the dessert menu, Bayless said.

"We're not crazy," the release stated.

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