I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Antique Taco—which plans to open tomorrow in Wicker Park—but there is no mystery to be solved. The title of this brand new taco joint tells you exactly what you need to know; the room is decorated with antiques and you can eat tacos. Sure, there is a little more involved in the equation, but that quickly gives you a sense of what to expect. And, as you can see from the picture above, genuine and care attention have gone into both.
That's all thanks to the husband and wife team of Rick and Ashley Ortiz. Though the two collaborated on most of details of the restaurant together, in general terms Rick is the chef and Ashley is in charge of the design. Though Rick's name might not be instantly familiar, he's been working in the Chicago area as a chef for many years. The Bridgeport native attended Kendall College, worked for Courtright's Restaurant in suburban Willow Springs, and has spent the past years as the executive sous chef for Solider Field. In 2011, he launched Antique Kitchen Catering with Ashley.
The official press release describes the restaurant as "shabby vintage", which sort of gets at the interesting blend of antique furniture and items made from reclaimed materials. But it's easy to tell that every detail of the restaurant was mulled over and obsessed upon, from the impressive plates to the funky margarita glasses. If it feels almost like an antique store, that's because it sort of is. Though not everything is available for purchase, most of the items in the large dresser are actually for sale.
As for the tacos, Rick explained that the inspiration came partly from watching his family cook, and also from experimenting while on the job. During a preview event yesterday, he talked through many of the dishes you'll be able to find on the menu when it opens tomorrow. Take a look at the slideshow to get a preview of what to expect at Antique Taco.
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