If you’ve resolved to learn a new language in 2017, here’s a start: “Quiote” is the Spanish word for the flowering stalk of an agave plant. It’s also the name of the forthcoming restaurant, café, and mezcal bar at 2456 North California Avenue from chef-partner Dan Salls (The Salsa Truck, The Garage). The bilevel, multiconcept trend (see Ronero) continues at the Logan Square spot, which is set to open later this month in the former Letizia’s Fiore space.
According to Salls—who, along with a crew that includes business partner Paul Biasco—spent much of 2016 meeting with mezcaleros, chefs, and artists throughout Mexico. It’s an ode to agave, the flavors of modern Mexico, and the stories of the artisans and producers he’s encountered.
Quiote will kick off the day serving Sparrow Coffee Roastery coffee and freshly baked classic Mexican pastries. In the afternoon, it will morph into a fast-casual taqueria (familiar, Garage-esque territory for Salls) offering tacos, tortas, and other Mexican street food. The tacos will be served on scratch-made tortillas using corn imported from Oaxaca.
At night, Quiote will go full-service, dishing up contemporary cuisine that will change seasonally. Salls’ early favorite is aguachile, featuring fresh yellowtail topped with charred arbol chile vinaigrette, grapefruit, and sunchoke chips. Dessert will center around housemade ice creams in flavors such as horchata and strawberry-jalapeño, but will also include plated desserts such as goats’ milk–cajeta tres leches.
Completing the trifecta will be a mezcal bar. Bobby Baker will spearhead the beverage program: “He is from Chicago but we found him in Oaxaca,” says Salls. “We were there checking out mezcal and he was running Mezcalogia, one of the most famous bars in Oaxaca.” Baker’s creations will, obviously, showcase mezcal, both poured neat and in specialty cocktails.