Big Star Mariscos opens in West Town
Big Star arrives in West Town, but with a twist. One Off Hospitality Group, the company behind Avec and the Publican, unveils a spin-off of its honky-tonk taco spot, known for its lively patios and wide selection of bourbons. In West Town, Big Star Mariscos will feature new seafood with a slated opening this fall in a plot that housed bars like Mahoney’s and 551 Live.
One Off provides a patio that can accommodate 60 people, in addition to 120 seats inside. A pick-up window and curbside service are also underway. The triangular parcel is unique, bordered by Ogden, Racine and Ohio. For months, workers emptied the interiors of the 6,000 square foot space at 551 N. Ogden Avenue. Permits revealed that One Off executives support the project, but the company has declined to comment until now.
One Off co-founder Paul Kahan and Big Star culinary director Chris Miller are working on the menu which will include aguachile, ceviche and whole fish taking inspiration from coastal regions of Mexico, including Baja , Ensenada, Vera Cruz and Yucatan. They also refine Big Star’s tortillas, in collaboration with El Popocatepetl from Pilsen. A press release said the new version is coarser than the masa version Big Star has used for 13 years.
Chicago-based Present Future Architects are designing the space (previous iterations were from New York design offices) and plans to bring new energy with a blue color palette and an oversized retro-style panel meant to differentiate the space. West Town location of the original Wicker Park and outpost opposite Wrigley Field, according to a press release.
Big Star opened 13 years ago in Wicker Park in the former Pontiac Cafe, with One Off inspired by Bakersfield, California. Kahan said the city’s migrant worker community and music culture is a “great opportunity where whiskey and tequila mix.” While Avec and Blackbird were what the Michelin inspectors were focusing on, Big Star brought One Off a fast, casual option, one where diners could eat regularly and affordably. A Wrigleyville location opened in 2018.
Big Star also opened a location inside the United Center in 2015, but the space was turned over to Stephanie Izard in 2019. The West Town location is a five-minute drive from UC, making means ticket holders will once again have access to Big Star Tacos. around the start of the hockey and basketball seasons. Look for more information when updates are available.
Big Star Mariscos551 N. Ogden Avenue, slated to open this fall.