Big Star (1531 N. Damen Chicago, IL ) is the type of place that gets a lot of hype, but unlike most places with this much buzz, the food is good too! We have been to Big Star several times now, and it really is a fun place to hang out with friends, grab some tacos and drinks, and just kick back. Though you can sit inside, the main draw at Big Star in warm weather is the sunny patio, which often leads to several-hour waits. We first managed to get into Big Star late on a summer Wednesday, and though we were skeptical at first, we really enjoyed the tacos. Be sure to bring your cash though, since they do not accept credit cards.
There is a large beer, whiskey and tequila list at Big Star, which in no doubt fuels the rush to occupy the patio. Following this theme, the menu particularly features unique whiskey-based cocktails and even their own barrel-aged whiskeys. However, there are also some different non-alcoholic drinks, including Blenheim’s ginger ale, aguas frescas and a house-made horchata smoothie. If you are just in the mood for tacos, and no wait, there is also a small takeout window located next-door.
Taco-wise, there are unique options for vegetarians and vegans alike, and all are $3 or $4 apiece. Some of the tacos varieties include pork belly, potatoes and chipotle, fried fish, al pastor and spicy pibil shredded chicken. We thought the al pastor and pibil chicken were flavorful standouts. One of our other favorites is the vegetarian carrot taco topped with yogurt and pumpkin seeds- which is so heavily spiced and tasty you will not miss the meat at all. Other non-taco options include a side of guacamole, pickled jalapenos, a mushroom tostada (below) and a few salads.
Big Star is a fun place to hang out with friends from lunch to late-night, whether for a whiskey cocktail or some tacos. It’s also a place to see and be seen, for better or worse. Who’d have thought a defunct gas station in Wicker Park could take on such an afterlife? We have a feeling Big Star has probably calmed down quite a bit in the winter. Did you have any luck getting in?