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Big Star

Taco Place and Whisky Bar$$$$
Wicker Park, Chicago
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9.3/10
1,916
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552 Tips and reviews
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  • CNN
    CNNAugust 6, 2014
    Half taco hut, half whiskey joint, Big Star is the place for al fresco meet-ups in Chicago. When the weather is warm, the doors of this former garage are raised and open tables disappear in a flash. Read more
  • JenKudu
    JenKuduJune 13, 2014
    $40 for a pitcher of margaritas and I stumbled away very happy! Queso fundido, Baja taco and guacamole are outstanding. Go drink at the bar, the hostess will text you when your table is ready.
  • AFAR Media
    AFAR MediaAugust 4, 2014
    Everyone knows Big Star is famous for its cheap and tasty tacos but it's the queso fundido that really wowed my tastebuds. Melted queso Chihuahua cheese compliments the peppers and meaty chorizo. Read more
  • Serious Eats
    Serious EatsAugust 19, 2011
    Tacos al pastor, which is spit-roasted pork cooked with pineapple and onion; a crunchy fried fish taco; and best of all, pork belly with tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro. Read more
  • Vitalina S.
    Vitalina S.August 5, 2015
    Tacos de pescado + fish tacos are sooooo good , definitely a must to try. Guacamole is amazing as well. If you are a taco lover definitely check this place out.
  • Jen M.
    Jen MarquezFebruary 23, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Super crowded. Cash only. That said, all the tacos are great. Favorite is the chicken taco. Tostada is awesome too. Very trendy. Good place to go with friends. Hit up the window outside in a hurry.
  • William Q.
    William QuiñonesJanuary 29, 2016
    I went for the first time this past weekend and I tried fish tacos, and beef taco, taco al pastor. All of them very good. The horchata wasn't spectacular for me, but the recommendation I got was 👍
  • Miroslav L.
    Miroslav LysyukJuly 8, 2012
    Get the $30 margarita pitcher, some tacos, and sit back and relax with a friend and people gaze. FYI seats at the bar are a little hard to get, but easier than a table. Once you're in though, u good
  • Colin R.
    Colin ReynoldsJuly 14, 2016
    Everything you've heard is true; this is the place you want to be on a sunny afternoon. Delectable tacos and excellent Mexican/summer themed beers and drinks. You MUST order the queso fundido!
  • Rafa G.
    Rafa GSeptember 15, 2014
    I came from de taco's country and this are most expensive tacos in my life, but they are great, have sowl, style, great service, delicious michelads and the "dulce de leche licuado" is pure sweetness.
  • Chris S.
    Chris SteeleSeptember 4, 2016
    Been here 10+ times
    On a nice night, skip the long line to be seated and get your tacos from the takeout window to the left. There are too many good things to do in Wicker Park to waste your time in a 2 hr queue.
  • Michelle S.
    Michelle StarkeyFebruary 19, 2016
    Amazing first experience, although I admittedly didn't know what many menu items were (the menu is a mix of bilingual terms), everything I and my boyfriend picked was delicious. Cannot wait to go back
  • Bradley K.
    Bradley Kay6 days ago
    Good-to-great tacos at a fair price with an amazing patio and atmosphere. For years it's been the best place to enjoy a lazy afternoon with as many friends as can drop by
  • Abdul H.
    Abdul HakkimDecember 31, 2013
    Depending on how adventurous you feel, you can get a taco stuffed with anything from pork belly to beef hearts. And, every day there’s a $3 whiskey shot special. - © 2013 BuzzFeed, Inc
  • Serious Eats
    Serious EatsMay 21, 2013
    Getting a table to sip margaritas can take awhile, but if you just need a taco fix, head straight for the takeout window where you can usually get served in minutes.
  • Time Out Chicago
    Time Out ChicagoMay 25, 2012
    If you can just drink and not partake in Paul Kahan’s tacos al pastor…or his fish tacos…or his housemade salsas…or his sonoran hot dog (wrapped in bacon)…you have more restraint than we do. -JK Read more
  • Time Out Chicago
    Time Out ChicagoDecember 6, 2011
    Try the michelada from our 100 Best list: We know it contains Tecate, Cholula and Valentina hot sauces, and Maggi. Oh, and we’re certain it's delicious, alleviates hangovers & might just cure cancer.
  • Michael S.
    Michael SNovember 10, 2012
    Panza taco: get that and then add whatever else looks good. It all rocks. Queso Fundido is awesome. Great craft draft selection: only 6 or 7 on tap but all world class.
  • Eater
    EaterAugust 18, 2016
    It's difficult to beat a classic. We're talking about the classic margarita, made with tequila Lunazul tequila, lime, and orange curacao. Read more
  • Spoon University
    Spoon UniversityJune 2, 2016
    While it may lack variety — it has a small, one-page menu of primarily tacos — you can count on each dish to pack a serious punch. One of the main appeals of Big Star is its huge patio. Read more
  • Johnny L.
    Johnny LeeApril 22, 2013
    If you find yourself waiting in line for the pork belly tacos, pastor, queso fundido, etc, run across the street and check out Moon Voyage. On pierce st around the corner from pennys
  • Derek F.
    Derek FlanzraichOctober 4, 2016
    If this were in NYC, you'd never be able to get a table. Tacos were dope (especially the chicken + fish), drinks are cheap!
  • Danny C.
    Danny CaccioppoJune 26, 2012
    Hands down the best tacos I've ever had. They don't have steak tacos and thats normally my taco preference but I tried the pork belly tacos and I fell in love. Cash only too.
  • Mayoor R.
    Mayoor RaiMay 26, 2013
    I only went to their take out window so I only ordered 3 tacos and a horchata. Their chicken tacos are amazing in my opinion. Don't be afraid of the pickle they put in!
  • Time Out Chicago
    Time Out ChicagoFebruary 28, 2012
    Beat the brutal weekend crowds by dropping by the takeout window to grab a couple of tacos or plant yourself at the wall-length counter for a few beers or quality cocktails. Read more
  • The Feast
    The FeastJune 9, 2011
    Four for four: Paul Kahan strikes again with a taqueria that draws hour-long waits for al pastor and signature cocktails. Everyone raves about the pork belly, but our rec is to opt for the fish tacos.
  • Serious Eats
    Serious EatsMay 13, 2013
    Papas can Rajas Taco: This taco uses chipotles, which lend a smoky complexity to each bite. Though moderately spicy, they are tempered by cubes of potatoes.
  • Eater
    EaterJanuary 12, 2011
    Where else can you get a beer, a taco and a shot of whisky for under $10? Leave it to Blackbird exec chef Paul Kahan to make it happen. [Eater 38 Member] Read more
  • M B.
    M Ben-DavidApril 4, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    Big Star is a Fun & Hip place located in Wicker Park Bucktown Area, It also helps that all the food & drinks are delicious as well. A Big Huge Star for Big Star...
  • Time Out Chicago Kids
    Time Out Chicago KidsJanuary 10, 2012
    Foodies citywide rejoiced when this Bucktown taqueria opened its patio. More chances for us to partake in Paul Kahan’s tacos also means little foodies to sip dulce de leche milkshakes and lick paletas Read more
  • Moonchild
    MoonchildSeptember 15, 2014
    This place is completely packed on the weekends and has great drinks and mexican food :) Love going there for a snack and drinks on a Friday or Saturday.
  • Jough D.
    Jough DempseyAugust 14, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Sure, the tacos cost a dollar more and aren't as good as the Mexican taquerias in Logan Square (try Moran or Traspasada) but they're the best in Wicker Park, and portions are decent for the price.
  • Christian V.
    Christian Van BrimmerFebruary 21, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Al Pastor Tacos are the best! The pescado almost as good. Get the guacamole and the Big Star Margarita made with mescal... A smoky, less sweet alternative. Come at lunch for a minimal wait.
  • Time Out Chicago
    Time Out ChicagoJuly 7, 2014
    The bar that took over the Pontiac space is just that: A bar. With whiskey shots, cheap beer, and quick cocktails. Read more
  • Marcello M.
    Marcello MansoSeptember 12, 2014
    Imagine the world has been taken by zombies and the society as we know it is about to collapse. Make sure you stop here first and get Queso Fundido and porkbelly tacos.
  • Ben P.
    Ben PierceOctober 31, 2013
    LAWDY those al pastors. Get a bunch of em, wash down with limeade, enjoy the outdoor seating. I've met some pretty amazing people on those picnic tables.
  • Ian B.
    Ian BeacraftSeptember 6, 2011
    Amazing pork bellies. The fish tacos are also really good. If you enjoy extremely spicy foods the chicken tacos can't be beat. Oh yeah, and their whisky selection rocks Read more
  • Steve ‘Pudgy’ D.
    This was the 'unofficial' find of CCBW 2012. For a hipster venue (w| bartenders playing vinyl LPs!), there is no condescension toward outsiders. A good array of craftbeers also.
  • Sarah W.
    Sarah WallerJuly 20, 2014
    Been here 25+ times
    Rajas, Panza, Pollo & Michelada to drink. I love this place but I hate that they will not give you a large container for chips & salsa to-go. Six small containers is really annoying. Is it that hard?
  • Myra R.
    Myra RubinSeptember 10, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    Been a fan since April...absolutely love this place, the food and margarita pitchers! Pork belly, al pastor & poblano w/cheese tacos, guac, queso fundido delish. Sonoran Hotdog new addition-was ok LUV
  • Sara M.
    Sara McMurrayJune 30, 2012
    Sonoran Hot Dog, Fish Tacos, Pastor Tacos... AMAZING. There will be a wait- but it's worth it, if you can't wait- try the take-out next door!
  • Marnie C.
    Marnie CoeneSeptember 6, 2013
    The Tacos Al Pastor were delish! Also tried the bacon wrapped hot dog without the spicy sauce. It was so yummy. Just remember it's cash only.
  • Ene Emilie D.
    Ene Emilie DinesenAugust 18, 2014
    Really good pizzas. There is a lot of noise because the train is running just next to it, but still a cool place. Would definitely go there again
  • Michael L.
    Michael LucasJanuary 24, 2013
    Some of the best tacos you'll find. A bit expensive, but well worth it if you want some seriously amazing tacos – and all of them are amazing!
  • Rachel M.
    Rachel MazzaJuly 30, 2016
    Love big star! A bit noisy but $3 whiskey menu is excellent. So fun, but same tacos are half price at authentic Mexican places nearby.
  • subbu a.
    subbu arumugamNovember 16, 2011
    asked for specials (think "cheap")... the stupid server got us the $7 12oz beer ("the staff draft")... vs $1 schlitz that we later found out existed - be sure to ask $/beer if you're price sensitive
  • Paolo
    PaoloJune 6, 2015
    big college crowd, annoyingly busy, the overzealous doormen kick it all off with a snobby vibe. the tacos are as good as anything is the SF mission though.
  • Nathaniel S.
    Nathaniel SeeversApril 19, 2013
    De Panza, the pork belly tacos are where it's at. Plenty of good beers, a surprisingly nice whiskey stock and large outdoor seating space.
  • Annie C.
    Annie ChambersOctober 30, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Do not miss Big Star if you're in Chicago in the warm months, awesome patio. Delicious margaritas and creative, tasty, not run-of-the mill tacos
  • Abby M.
    Abby MeixnerJuly 7, 2012
    Come for the drinks and tacos and stay for the atmosphere. They could increase veggie options on the menu though. Where's the black bean and avo taco?
  • Paul M.
    Paul MoriniDecember 15, 2015
    Everything is very well prepared and delicious. An inventive bar/restaurant that is a great place to end up for drinks and a snack
  • Michael B.
    Michael BairdAugust 14, 2014
    Tacos are really good. This place can get busy, make sure to plan for a wait. Grab a pitcher of margaritas while you wait.
  • Tee C.
    Tee CapelJanuary 3, 2012
    One word.... MARGARITAS!! They are the best. Grab a pitcher with your friends. you wont regret it. ANY of their tapas will tickle your taste buds.
  • Dominic N.
    Dominic NanniAugust 10, 2013
    In Chicago for a week and this place was perfect. Studied abroad in Mexico City and this felt like I was bak there! Definitely try it out if you're in the area.
  • Cole K.
    Cole KennedyApril 4, 2016
    Do you like day drinking and tacos? Of course you do. Come here and let the DJ spin real vinyl while you get messed up.
  • Berna
    BernaAugust 5, 2013
    Try all the tacos and have tap beer. all tacos great but my favorites are taco dr panza & the walking taco :)
  • Bon Appetit Magazine
    Bon Appetit MagazineSeptember 20, 2010
    You can't beat Paul Kahan's Wicker Park hot spot. Tacos stuffed with lamb shoulder, pork belly, and non-gringo ingredients like beef heart are only a few bucks. Read more
  • Dave Z.
    Dave ZissouJune 30, 2012
    top notch drinks, and the tacos are very freshly prepared, this is a must if you make the trip out to the windy city
  • PureWow
    PureWowJuly 11, 2016
    This place has the best jukebox tunes, patio and braised-pork-belly tacos in the world. Read more
  • Rebecca P.
    Rebecca PrindableJune 3, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    Old Pontiac. $3 taco Tuesdays. Black cherry fizzzz drinks are delic. fun crowd. outside is fantastic. crowded- four or more for an inside booth, but sitting at the bar is fun- meet lots of pp1!
  • Hanna F.
    Hanna FridellAugust 30, 2015
    Great vibe and good prices. Fun with a group- hipster party feeling. Food is good but nothing special.
  • GourmetLive
    GourmetLiveMarch 24, 2011
    Curtis Stone, host of Top Chef Masters Season 3, knew Chicago for its hot dogs, but tacos?! Stone says Big Star’s tacos are, “up there with the best I have ever eaten.”
  • Jake S.
    Jake SmithSeptember 2, 2012
    Sonoran hot dog, with any of their surprisingly refreshing whiskey drinks, while sitting at the bar is the way to go.
  • Alex P.
    Alex Pyatetsky3 weeks ago
    What can I say? My favorite tacos outside of Mexico City, probably. Everything is good. Don't give a shit about the bar scene. Shut up and eat.
  • Misha K.
    Misha K.May 2, 2013
    Been here 10+ times
    Try the taco de papas con rajas as a vegetarian option. Also try the pineapple mango salsa! #FatGirlTime
  • Sam H.
    Sam HerbertJuly 11, 2015
    Delicious tacos, great margaritas, awesome outside area. Pretty surprised and and impressed by this place!
  • Time Out Chicago
    Time Out ChicagoSeptember 17, 2010
    The Tacos de Panza, featuring luscious hunks of pork belly smothered in tomato guajillo sauce and showered with queso fresco, all swaddled in warm tortillas Read more
  • Elizabeth H.
    Who doesn't love tacos and tequila? Must get the guac and a pitcher of their house margarita --- smoky or not!
  • Amanda K.
    Amanda Kocefas 🎀August 29, 2013
    The queso fundido is AMAZING. Highly recommend a pitcher of margs to keep you busy while you wait.
  • Laini M.
    Laini MadhubutiApril 5, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    go early. or don't. go late, be cool, and then i will be guaranteed a seat! basically it gets crowded after 6. bat your eyelashes & they might make the fish tostada into a taco, so good!!
  • Todd B.
    Todd BernierMarch 7, 2015
    Superb tacos and margaritas. Hard to get into at times, but worth the wait. Especially in the summer.
  • Noel R.
    Noel RodriguezOctober 9, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    A great place though the wait times are horrid. A bit overrated but still a place I frequent. Cash only.
  • Kingsley Y.
    Kingsley YoungerJuly 15, 2015
    Featured on Unique Eats. Food looks good. All foods made in house. The All Pastor looks good.
  • RcL
    RcLApril 5, 2016
    Cozy atmosphere. Great taco's and drinks. Fast service too!
  • Fiona H.
    Fiona HodgeMarch 26, 2015
    Super busy in the evenings get there early or it could be 1+hour wait. Much easier to get a spot at lunchtimes
  • Cari C.
    Cari CutcherMarch 30, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Love pork belly tacos but the service is shit, watched the bartender texting while I had already waited 20 mins for my check. Def saved some money on the tip :)
  • Ryan L.
    Ryan LeggettSeptember 12, 2016
    Very tasty tacos. Even though the place looked crowded, we found seats at the bar quickly with no wait.
  • Cristian L.
    Cristian LöfvallSeptember 14, 2016
    You *have to* have the fish tacos and the Big Star Margarita. Yummy tacos and awesome patio.
  • Seve P.
    Seve Ponce de LeonJuly 7, 2011
    Been here 50+ times
    MOST UNDERRATED DRINK: their horchata - a drink made from ground almonds and flavored with cinnamon. Get it with a shot of rum.
  • Todd G.
    Todd GallowayAugust 8, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Really great al pastor. Don't order in a big group, split it up if you can. Large orders get pretty smashed together and are totally unlabelled. Read more
  • Thompson Hotels
    Thompson HotelsJune 20, 2011
    Concierge Catherine at Sax Chicago recommends scoring a table on the patio and filling up on beer, bourbon, and pork belly tacos.
  • Tamra A.
    Tamra AltonagaJune 8, 2012
    Fish tacos are amazingggg! The best I've had other than the west coast! Everything else tastes great too!
  • Mike H.
    Mike HaggertySeptember 29, 2012
    This place has some decent tequilas, Don Julio, Fortaleza, Ocho etc but I would love to see a bottle of Cuestion!
  • Emily K.
    Emily KrollNovember 5, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Best fish tacos in the city! If you want a table you need to put you name down about 2 hours in advance.
  • Natalie T.
    Natalie TseAugust 12, 2016
    The queso fundido and fish tacos are a must! Also don't miss out on the Schlitz + shot combo
  • Juliana K.
    Juliana KongFebruary 11, 2012
    Awesomely chill place. Chips and guac are great. Good fish tacos and all tacos in general. Strong! Margaritas.
  • Carolyn S.
    Carolyn SAugust 29, 2014
    Pastor & Pescado Tacos. Everything is out of this world.
  • Michelle F.
    Michelle FaracoJuly 2, 2014
    Pastor Taco - yum yum! Queso fundido and Guac for appetizers!
  • Zach S.
    Zach SmithNovember 16, 2015
    Delicious tacos. Good beer selection. Cash only. Go to the outdoor window for a quick taco fix.
  • Christopher M.
    Christopher MarianoNovember 2, 2011
    Been here 50+ times
    Gotta have the Tacos de Panza. Queso Fundido is also a must. $3 whiskey shots to boot. Enjoy MFers!
  • Chicagoist
    ChicagoistAugust 1, 2014
    Don’t have hours to spare lined up on Damen? Head to the bar to order or avoid the hipster hordes altogether and opt for the to-go window. Read more
  • Ricky B.
    Ricky BrandtMarch 29, 2015
    Great food, good prices. Don't expect a seat unless you want to wait. Heat lamps are legit.
  • Mark B.
    Mark BrennemanOctober 19, 2014
    Great vegetarian selection. Protip: don't get the guacamole and spend the money you save on more tacos
  • Tyler S.
    Tyler SanderfordJune 12, 2015
    tacos were ok. Served quick. Atmosphere for lunch felt liked being swiftly dragged by my shirt through a crowded metro. High energy.
  • Amy L.
    Amy LebowskyOctober 16, 2014
    THIS IS THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN ON EARTH. Doesn't matter how crowded it is, come in and have the best mescal margarita of you life and smile.
  • David S.
    David StepanekMarch 16, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    Taco al pastor is delish! Open late, friendly staff. This place is cash only!
  • Rebecca R.
    Rebecca RickertOctober 15, 2014
    Amazing tacos! Love the paloma's! Guacamole is just ok. Cash only!
  • Myra R.
    Myra RubinApril 26, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    Love!!! Delish bite size tacos...pork belly, al pastor and poblano pepper/cheese are the best. Delicious guac and very strong margarita pitchers! Gr8 outdoor patio
  • Claire P.
    Claire PistekMarch 28, 2015
    Margaritas are strong, guacamole is amazing. The patio in the dinner is the place to be.
  • David S.
    David SmithSeptember 14, 2014
    Tacos are stuffed to the brim with meaty goodness. Two tacos makes for a hearty meal.
  • Selene P.
    Selene PinAriApril 21, 2016
    Riquiiiiiisimo! El queso fundido una delicia y los tacos de pastor, no es el pastor original pero están buenísimos!
  • Marco L.
    Marco LagardeJuly 31, 2015
    Los tacos de panza en realidad son de barriga (carnitas) y son extraordinarios. El walking Dead es más unos dorilocos que un taco, así que si eres mexicano no te van a gustar.
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