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  • Xoco

    Post #1 - June 15th, 2009, 10:30 am
    Post #1 - June 15th, 2009, 10:30 am Post #1 - June 15th, 2009, 10:30 am
    Any inside scoop on when Bayless's new street food concept Xoco is set to open? I'm eagerly anticipating it!

    http://www.rickbayless.com/blogger/

    XOCO
    449 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60654
    312-334-3688
    Senorita P.
  • Post #2 - June 15th, 2009, 11:17 am
    Post #2 - June 15th, 2009, 11:17 am Post #2 - June 15th, 2009, 11:17 am
    I don't have any information, but I am also eagerly anticipating it as I work right down the street. I saw Rick Bayless standing at the side door talking to someone inside about 10 days ago, so I think that's a good sign!
    - Katie
  • Post #3 - June 15th, 2009, 11:26 am
    Post #3 - June 15th, 2009, 11:26 am Post #3 - June 15th, 2009, 11:26 am
    "July 2009" is that last, most recent projected opening timeframe I've seen - and that also appears within the blog you've linked (maybe back in an April '09 entry). I attended an event at Frontera last night and one of the items in the giftbags was a coupon for some freebies at Xoco when it opens . . . and though I don't have the certificate with me at the moment I think the language refers to "later this year." I, too, work in the neighborhood and am anxiously awaiting the restaurant's debut - hoping to add it to a lunchtime rotation (and, on occassion, as a breakfast stop).
  • Post #4 - June 17th, 2009, 10:54 pm
    Post #4 - June 17th, 2009, 10:54 pm Post #4 - June 17th, 2009, 10:54 pm
    I was at the Frontera fundraiser on Sunday and my recollection is that Rick said it would open in August. It sounds interesting since he described the kitchen as being in the front window. It will be open for breakfast pastries but no huevos.
  • Post #5 - August 13th, 2009, 12:32 pm
    Post #5 - August 13th, 2009, 12:32 pm Post #5 - August 13th, 2009, 12:32 pm
    Any updates or insider info on a potential opening? Last I heard was mid-August...
  • Post #6 - August 13th, 2009, 12:37 pm
    Post #6 - August 13th, 2009, 12:37 pm Post #6 - August 13th, 2009, 12:37 pm
    http://twitter.com/Rick_Bayless/statuses/3200536761
    http://twitter.com/Rick_Bayless/statuses/3249455151
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #7 - August 13th, 2009, 3:30 pm
    Post #7 - August 13th, 2009, 3:30 pm Post #7 - August 13th, 2009, 3:30 pm
    God, I hope so. Mexican in this area is lacking.
  • Post #8 - August 22nd, 2009, 8:21 pm
    Post #8 - August 22nd, 2009, 8:21 pm Post #8 - August 22nd, 2009, 8:21 pm
    Xoco will open September 8th.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #9 - August 22nd, 2009, 11:13 pm
    Post #9 - August 22nd, 2009, 11:13 pm Post #9 - August 22nd, 2009, 11:13 pm
    Bayless said September 6th tonight with Nick D. on WGN (but 8th frankly sounds more reasonable).
  • Post #10 - August 23rd, 2009, 12:27 am
    Post #10 - August 23rd, 2009, 12:27 am Post #10 - August 23rd, 2009, 12:27 am
    Per Rick Bayless on Twitter: "Finally set opening date: Sept 8!! RT @zeldes: @Rick_Bayless Does Xoco have a phone number or an opening date yet? http://bit.ly/eH5XZ "
  • Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 11:56 am
    Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 11:56 am Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 11:56 am
    Let's see if this works here .....

    Image

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    hot damn!
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 12:04 pm
    Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 12:04 pm Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 12:04 pm
    gleam wrote:hot damn!


    Is that a good thing? I didn't see it on the menu....

    Sorry about the size of the image, it's crosslinked to another site and taking a while to download.

    I might save it to flickr and edit the link, might be faster.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 12:18 pm
    headcase wrote:
    gleam wrote:hot damn!


    Is that a good thing? I didn't see it on the menu....

    Sorry about the size of the image, it's crosslinked to another site and taking a while to download.

    I might save it to flickr and edit the link, might be faster.

    SSDD


    Yeah, definitely a good thing. That menu looks outstanding, and I don't really have any doubts that Bayless can deliver. So I'm excited, even if I'm never in that neighborhood.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #15 - August 27th, 2009, 12:43 pm
    Post #15 - August 27th, 2009, 12:43 pm Post #15 - August 27th, 2009, 12:43 pm
    Thanks so much for posting headcase . . . I'm in gleam's camp on this one.
  • Post #16 - August 27th, 2009, 1:01 pm
    Post #16 - August 27th, 2009, 1:01 pm Post #16 - August 27th, 2009, 1:01 pm
    Going to echo others here and it's just a menu, but sure seems like he’s not holding anything back, meaning it’s a bit more adventurous then I might have thought. Eager to try.
  • Post #17 - August 27th, 2009, 1:07 pm
    Post #17 - August 27th, 2009, 1:07 pm Post #17 - August 27th, 2009, 1:07 pm
    headcase wrote:Let's see if this works here .....

    Loaded quickly, made me very hungry. I'd say it worked just fine. :wink:

    =R=
    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Do you know the muffin man? --Max Beckmann

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #18 - August 27th, 2009, 1:12 pm
    Post #18 - August 27th, 2009, 1:12 pm Post #18 - August 27th, 2009, 1:12 pm
    Ooh, droolworthy. Can't wait. How did you obtain the menu?
  • Post #19 - August 27th, 2009, 1:31 pm
    Post #19 - August 27th, 2009, 1:31 pm Post #19 - August 27th, 2009, 1:31 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    headcase wrote:Let's see if this works here .....

    Loaded quickly, made me very hungry. I'd say it worked just fine. :wink:

    =R=


    Good to hear, it might be my work connection that is messed up today, I'll have to look into that.

    na wrote:Ooh, droolworthy. Can't wait. How did you obtain the menu?



    For awhile I've been on a e-mail list from Thrillist.com, XOCO was featured today.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #20 - August 29th, 2009, 9:34 am
    Post #20 - August 29th, 2009, 9:34 am Post #20 - August 29th, 2009, 9:34 am
    I noticed that on the Xoco website (http://www.rickbayless.com/menu/layout?id=15) that the head-cheese torta is absent. Any word on whether that was confirmed or not?
  • Post #21 - August 30th, 2009, 3:47 am
    Post #21 - August 30th, 2009, 3:47 am Post #21 - August 30th, 2009, 3:47 am
    I had a good laugh, when I read through much of the Xoco menu(s) here. I shouldn't have been surprised, though, that Bayless' version of sandiwches, caldos, and other food items purportedly found for sale/consumption from street vendors in Mexico wouldn't be that at all (and I may be mistaken about his earlier comments about the focus of the corner store). Of the menu offerings I'm reading here, breakfast has caught my eye. I don't doubt items will be put together with his 'only the best' ingredients, and they and the high-rent in the neighborhood require the higher prices. I look forward to having a look when the spot opens.
  • Post #22 - August 30th, 2009, 6:54 am
    Post #22 - August 30th, 2009, 6:54 am Post #22 - August 30th, 2009, 6:54 am
    Bill wrote:I may be mistaken about his earlier comments about the focus of the corner store


    Yep,that's probably it, Bill. From day one Bayless has called it "contemporary expressions" of Mexican street foods and snacks. I don't believe he ever set out to serve exactly what one would find from street carts in Mexico.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #23 - September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am
    Post #23 - September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am Post #23 - September 8th, 2009, 8:29 am
    Food offerings inspired by Bayless' visits to Mexico, not "Mexican food" as most people will probably think of the varied cuisine available in Mexico – that’s how I view his restaurants. It's still amusing for me to read through the menu of Xoco, though.

    I was the first customer at Xoco when it opened officially for business this morning at 7 a.m. It'll probably be a good day (and good week) for a soft opening, which any new retail/food venture needs until it finds its legs. Three other persons were in line with me when the door was unlocked. You enter the restaurant on Illinois St., not on Clark St. (no door on Clark St., unless you mistakenly walk into a door to one side of the front of the restaurant, which leads to upstairs offices).

    Bayless was behind the counter front-of-the-house open kitchen, working the grill. It's a diner-like set-up - an attractive interior he's spent more money preparing than he likely expected he'd have to (I've been following the site build-out on his blog). Stainless steel stools and counters at the back of the long and narrow room - and some tables, too. It'll be a tough room to maneuver in and likely very loud if the tourist bus crowd descends upon the place just to get something of Bayless' instead of opting for a more expensive meal in the restaurants next door. There might be seating for as many as 50 persons.

    For my meal I chose the "Breakfast Torta" - an open-faced sandwich of black bean paste, a poblano spread, some queso de Oaxaca and a poached egg set upon 1/2 of a small bolillo roll. Also, I had a concha sweet roll and a cup of "authentic" chocolate (made with water instead of milk). Price tag: $14.77 - a bit steep for such a breakfast . . . for me.

    Obviously, it'll take a while for the staff to work in-synch and for all of the equipment to become functional as intended and learning what the Xoco kitchen can turn out and at what quality will take time, also. I work a 5-minute walk from the restaurant, but I didn't see much to lure me back as a frequent breakfast customer, though. I will try breakfast again in a month or so - and before then I'll likely have lunch there.
  • Post #24 - September 8th, 2009, 3:50 pm
    Post #24 - September 8th, 2009, 3:50 pm Post #24 - September 8th, 2009, 3:50 pm
    It looked packed today around 1:20 pm. I was on the Grand St bus & folks were coming out & appeared lined up...but not spillover to the street.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #25 - September 8th, 2009, 4:00 pm
    Post #25 - September 8th, 2009, 4:00 pm Post #25 - September 8th, 2009, 4:00 pm
    You and I were passing in front of the restaurant at about the same time. I counted about 15-people in line as well - at 1:15 as I headed on-foot to the Ohio Street Motel Restaurant for lunch.

    The way the Xoco is set-up, I think that if there are more 15-people in line at the same time it'll start to become uncomfortable for people who are sitting and eating because the line will then be backing-up into the dining area. It looked like a nice and manageable group at that hour.

    Things could also become uncomfortable when Winter arrives and it's cold outside . . . if there are long lines of people, people opening and closing the door and wind and cold air blowing in. The way the entry is set is ripe for a Northwest airflow when the door opens.

    I touted the restaurant's opening to a couple of my co-workers as we left our office building for lunch and they showed their interest by going into Xoco as I walked by on a short detour. When I returned to the office I ran-into the women again and they said they were informed that the restaurant is not yet allowing take-out - so they went elsewhere (they were walking-off their lunch hour and bringing back take-out to have at their desks).
  • Post #26 - September 8th, 2009, 4:55 pm
    Post #26 - September 8th, 2009, 4:55 pm Post #26 - September 8th, 2009, 4:55 pm
    Since i had a lot of work to catch up on and figured it would be busy, I stopped by for a late late lunch around 3:30. The line was only about 6 deep and i was able to order my torta Ahogada and a Three Floyds Alpha King pretty quickly. The place seemed pretty chaotic for 3:30, with Bayless and no less that 6 others behind the counter alone.

    As for the food, it certainly isn't quick by any stretch, torta itself wasn't small but i wouldn't go calling the portion generous for practically 10 bucks. They asked how hot i wanted it, i said hot, and it certainly delivered good heat. The bread was nicely toasted and nestled into a thick tomato chile sauce in bowl, which was nice for dipping the bread into. There could have been about 15% more carnitas for my liking, but isn't that always the case with good carnitas. All in all pretty solid, lots of good looking stuff to try, though i wouldn't say i'm in a rush to go back, largely because of the price point and inevitable crowds.
  • Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 7:58 pm
    Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 7:58 pm Post #27 - September 8th, 2009, 7:58 pm
    Below are several of the photos I took this a.m. at breakfast:

    Image

    “Authentic Chocolate” and a Concha

    Image

    Breakfast Torta

    Image

    Xoco
    449 N. Clark St.
    (SE corner Clark/Illinois – entrance on Illinois St.)
    Chicago, IL 60610
    Open Mon-Sat 7am-10pm
  • Post #28 - September 9th, 2009, 8:06 am
    Post #28 - September 9th, 2009, 8:06 am Post #28 - September 9th, 2009, 8:06 am
    Well, Xoco made the front page of the Live! section of the Tribune, so the crowds will be even worse today.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #29 - September 9th, 2009, 7:57 pm
    Post #29 - September 9th, 2009, 7:57 pm Post #29 - September 9th, 2009, 7:57 pm
    I swung by for an early dinner today. Lines weren't too bad -- maybe 3 minutes to order, and then another 20 waiting for my food to arrive:

    churro @ xoco
    Image

    with a peach-orange-lime agua fresca in the background. the churro was tasty, but not any tastier than (and maybe not quite as tasty as) the ones at Maxwell Street Market. The peach drink was delicious, but at $2.50 for a 12oz (or so) cup, I'll probably stick to water in the future.

    cochinita pibil torta @ xoco
    Image

    Very tasty torta, with moist meat, a nice habanero-based salsa (ordered 'hot'), pickled onions, and black beans. Pretty much exactly what you would expect if someone said "cochinita pibil" to you. What made it stand out was the bread, which was fantastic. That said, when this sandwich is $12 and a platter of nearly as good cochinita can be had at xni pec for $11 or Chuck's for $12... I find it hard to say "go get this sandwich".


    It was a delicious meal, but at $17 and change for the above, I can't say I'll be rushing back. Rick Bayless was in the house, though, so there's always that:

    rick bayless tweeting
    Image
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #30 - September 9th, 2009, 9:58 pm
    Post #30 - September 9th, 2009, 9:58 pm Post #30 - September 9th, 2009, 9:58 pm
    I thought my breakfast yesterday was disasterous, even more so because Bayless cooked the major part of it - the breakfast torta (poached egg, some chipotle salsa/spread, black bean spread, etc.).

    I was the very first customer, the sandwich took about 20-minutes to get to me . . . and it arrived cold. One egg is one egg, but the rest of the ingredients of the sandwich were skimpy . . . especially so given the $9 price tag. And I was embarassed for the restaurant (and disappointed as a customer) that it was serving a concha of such poor quality . . . and stale . . . and charging $2.00 or 2.25 for it. A good, freshly baked that day and twice the size concha in a neighborhood Mexican bakery in Chicago would cost maybe 75 cents (mostly less, where I buy them) . . . and it would have been a concha, not a poor immitation. Any respectable Mexican bakery here or in Mexico would probably have thrown that batch of concha in the trash - the very worst example of of them I've seen/eaten in about 40-years of eating them. My "authentic" chocolate was okay, about what I expected. Given the fact that people spend what they spend on coffee from the various premium coffee shops such as Starbucks, the prices being charged for the chocolate seem reasonable.

    I chalked-up my bad and overpriced meal to opening day jitters, but as I thought more about that I recalled that Xoco conducted various tastings and preparation variations with employees of neighboring businesses, favored customers of the adjoining two restaurants, Bayless' own restaurant employees, purveyors' employees, etc. To perform that badly on the first order of the first day made the disasterous order of mine worse than I first thought.

    Though I expect to be trying some lunch items, I don't see the possibility of my becoming a regular customer . . . especially not when the Ohio House Restaurant is so close by. :twisted:

    Rick's groupies will love the place, and most of them probably will not understand what it is they're eating or how it should be prepared or served.
    Last edited by Bill on September 9th, 2009, 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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