This past Wednesday, High Noon Saloon (1560 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-227-9339) opened on the site that last saw People Tapas Lounge, a Wicker Park mainstay.
Baris Yuksel, the owner of both restaurants, says it was time for a change. “Our prices attracted more of a weekend crowd, and we wanted to be more affordable,” he says.
Tex-Mex staples such as tamales, tortilla soup, chili, and nachos will be prepared by chef Ruben Beltran, an alumnus of Adobo Grill, Maya del Sol, and Rick Bayless’s restaurants. “I started as a dishwasher [at age 17] for Rick Bayless,” says Beltran, a native of Cuernavaca, Mexico. “I wanted to learn something else. I didn’t want to be a dishwasher my whole life. I got into the kitchen, and I liked it.”
Although Yuksel plans a lower-priced menu, he went glam on the decor, hiring Karen Herold of 555 International, who designed Embeya and Girl & the Goat. The bar program also mixes low and high, with $7 margaritas alongside exotic bourbons, like a rare batch of Pappy van Winkle. “That’s pretty much impossible to find unless you already have it,” Yuksel says. Is high noon too early to try a sip?