Chicago certainly isn’t lacking in Mexican restaurants, but a new venture from the folks behind Prime & Provisions, Siena Tavern and Public House is throwing its hat in the ring and upping the ante considerably with Barrio. Brand new in River North, the sprawling space features a kaleidoscope of color, character and flavor, from the enormous bar brimming with agave to the adjoining bodega with provisions, tacos and churros. Behind Prime & Provisions Go Mexican With Barrio. Here’s everything you need to know about DineAmic Group
Clocking in at a whopping 6,000-sq.-ft., this place isn’t small. Which fits in nicely with the group’s portfolio of enormous restaurants and bars, like the West Loop’s perpetually packed bi-level endeavor, Bar Siena. Designed by Katherine Ingrassia and Ryan Nestor, the space features an elevated area with private rooms, an oval-shaped bar lined with extensive metal beams, and a particularly lively main dining area. The color scheme here is vivid and energetic as well, harkening to the bustling street culture of Mexico City with touches of ceramic tile, oak and iron.
Food-wise, Barrio’s menu borrows an eclectic page from the U.S., Japan and beyond, thanks to dexterous chef Katsuji Tanabe, who cut his teeth in Mexico City and Los Angeles before aligning with DineAmic Group for his first Chicago venture. Here, he’s making his own heirloom blue corn tortillas for platters lined with fish, beef, pork, chicken, mushrooms and lots more. He’s also helming a Mexican-accented robata-style grill, serving up skewers of seafood, scallops and beef for lighter, shareable fare.
For dessert, try the churros with cinnamon-chocolate fudge and matcha, the tres leches with almond-honeycomb crunch or the choco flan with chocolate cake, flan and dark chocolate crumble.
To drink, Adolfo Calderon curates an expansive bar program with wine, craft beer (both local products and Mexican brews get their dues) and numerous cocktails. Highlights include The Elder, a floral and effervescent mix of Volcan Silver, campari, elderflower, grapefruit, green tea, lemon and Cava; Rhythm is Danger, featuring Casamigos Blanco, pineapple, lemon, Thai vanilla and mint; and The Ocho, a medley of Bacardi 8, Cafe de Olla, egg white, chocolate and lime. Of course, there’s also a margarita, made with Hornitos Blanco, agave, lime, lemon and orange.
Still to come, Barrio is launching a casual bodega through its own separate entrance next door. Like a rustic neighborhood market, this one will feature grocery items, snacks, tacos, tortillas, churros, coffee and more.