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Michael Austin | Photo: Akin Girav | June 3, 2014
This summer, Rick Bayless brings all of his talents out to play.
Rick Bayless is at it again.
All of it. Next month, the master chef, restaurateur, food products creator, farmer advocate, author, TV personality and general hombre-about-town takes the stage for a return performance of the hugely popular theatrical experience Cascabel (see “20 Unique Ways to Spend Your Summer Nights”). The man knows from drama; had you asked him in college what career path he would like to follow, he would have said acting, and after many seasons on television, he’s accustomed to an audience.
But he’ll also return to what he does best: restaurants. Around the time the curtain goes up on the circus-like show, he’ll open his second Xoco restaurant, this one in Wicker Park. The new spot, at 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave., features the same sandwiches, soups and salads that pack in the crowds at the original River North location, but this Xoco is far more spacious (about 100 seats, including 25 on an outdoor patio), offers 20 local beers on tap and employs a jumping waitstaff (adios, quick-serve!).
Even bigger news? A new place on West Randolph Street’s restaurant row—expected to feature its own nanobrewery—with a bit of delicious mystery about it. “It will be different than anything we’ve done,” Bayless says. “And, I think, different than anything anyone’s done in the country.” The last time he said something like that, we got Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, establishments that put Mexican fare on the haute cuisine radar. We can hardly wait for the show to start.
James Beard Awards in Chicago, knowing farmers on a first-name basis, fresh eggs from your backyard, Chicago theater, bees
Plastic bottles, Solange hitting Jay Z, snow in May, potholes, the price of limes