Logo: Courtesy Chicago Taco

Before the tears had even dried from the news that West Town Tavern was closing, Susan and Drew Goss announced that they were reopening in the same space as Chicago Taco (1329 W. Chicago Ave., no phone yet), a fast-casual taqueria that reflects the shifting demographics in their neighborhood.

“The majority of our neighbors are 20 to 30 and are very mobile,” says Susan Goss, who has lived in West Town since 1997. “They are not interested as much in spending an hour and a half sniffing a wine.”

The idea of tacos started as a joke made by Alfonso Sotelo, West Town Tavern’s chef de cuisine. (Sotelo started as a dishwasher at Zinfandel, which the Gosses ran from 1993 to 2002.) As business declined at WTT, his jest turned serious: They took the curtains down, rearranged the tables, and are off and running as a counter-service restaurant with a full bar and sidewalk seating.

Starting tomorrow (July 26th), Chicago Taco will offer 10 taco varieties, $3 apiece, including fried chicken, braised short ribs and mashed potatoes, and smoked lamb shoulder. Desserts, such as double chocolate brownies and lemon chess pie bars, will be $1; bartenders will serve homemade refrescos such as watermelon ginger with orange vodka. And, outside the corner spot on Friday, someone on staff will hand out non-expiring cards good for one free taco. Doors open at 5 p.m.

“We have a lot of other things up our sleeves,” says Goss. “Chefs are like actors and can take on any role if they need to.” 

Many, including Big Star, Antique Tacos, Takito Kitchen, and L’Patron, have already made Chicago a boom town for the modern taqueria. But when it’s Susan Goss talking, we’re all ears. And tongues.

Here's a preview of the menu: