Happy Friday to ME! What a spectacular and sunny day in Chicago! After enjoying a lovely, early morning stroll by the lake with my coffee and handling some e-mails, I cleaned myself up and then, I hopped on the CTA Green Line toward the West Loop neighborhood to take care of a few errands. I planned to grab a burger at any one of the many established restaurants in the area. Much to my surprise and delight, when I exited at the Morgan/Lake ‘L’ stop, I was standing directly in front of Bar Takito.
Bar Takito is the latest culinary venture from the owners of Takito Kitchen in the Wicker Park neighborhood. It has been open for just 1 month and it has been on my radar. Since I do not believe in coincidences, I knew I was meant to eat lunch here today.
While Takito Kitchen has its focus on Mexican cuisine, Bar Takito offers an array of Latin-inspired small plates from Mexico, South America and Central America. Usually, I am skeptical of restaurants which attempt “pan-anything menus” but Bar Takito’s menu rests in the loving hands of Chef David Dworshak who runs the kitchens at both restaurants. He has won me over. Delicious flavors from Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia and Brazil are represented on this small but mighty menu. The majority of the menu is gluten-free and consists of ingredients from local farms. They also offer sustainable seafood.
Upon entering Bar Takito, I was transported immediately to another part of the world. The decor in this tiny place is so colorful, happy and inviting, it made me feel like I was in a tropical locale. Really. I felt like I was on vacation. So nice to travel 20 minutes from my apartment without needing my passport! I was greeted immediately by Bar Takito’s partners, Adam Weber, Anshul Mangal and Mario Ponce who could not have been nicer to this solo diner 🙂 Later, during my meal, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Dworshak who was equally delightful.
Here is how my lunch went down. Julio, my gracious and friendly server, walked me through the menu. He recommended that I start off with the Esquites which is a thoughtful mix of grilled corn, corn custard, chile de arbol, queso fresco, brown butter and cilantro. It arrived at my table in a simple yet elegant deep white bowl. It was a warm, comforting, roasty-toasty dish with just the right amount of heat for my spicy-loving palate. Given that corn is still in season, I am so glad I chose this as my starter.
While I was in the mood for fish today, Julio recommended the Pork Belly Tacos for my main small plate. Thanks, Julio! The tacos were presented to me on a beautiful rectangular dish. Chef Dworshak prides himself on his ability to craft different flavored tacos. This dish consisted of 3 turmeric-flavored tortillas layered with pork belly, smoked queso fresco, pickled jicama, arugula and pepitas, served with wedges of lime. Wow! The balance of flavors in this small plate packed a very big punch.
I ended my lunch with dessert. The Popcorn Butterscotch Mousse appeared in a long, narrow pretty, white dish. It was adorned with cinnamon crunch, passion fruit and blueberries. It was one of the prettiest desserts I have seen in a long time. It was light, creamy and so refreshing. This dessert is a real winner.
All of the ingredients at Bar Takito are incredibly fresh, verdant and vibrant They match perfectly with this restaurant’s ambiance which has a communal dining arrangement and 2 separate bar areas. Although I did not order a drink, the beverage menu here is quite extensive. There are specialty cocktails and spirits with influences from different Latin American countries, as well as a great beer list.
Bar Takito offers up free live music on Thursdays and Saturdays, so I know this will be a “go-to” spot for me whether I am dining solo or with friends. Also, there is a “Sunday Funday” special featuring $2 Tecate and $3 tacos.
Bar Takito is located at 201 N. Morgan St. For more information, visit, Click here.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Green Line to Bar Takito. Save gas money. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!