Category Archives: RESTAURANTS

A Few Notes on Our Holiday Hours

A few things to know as we head into the most wonderful time of the year: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, XOCO,  Leña Brava, Cruz Blanca and Fonda Frontera will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 24 and Sunday Dec. 25. Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and XOCO (our Clark Street restaurants) are open Dec. 27 through New Year’s Eve. […]

A Fiesta of Fall Favorites: Frontera’s Seasonal Menu

As we turn our collective attention to falling leaves and shorter days, the Frontera chefs are, once again, taking the very best of the season and making Mexican magic. Consider the abundance of autumn on our latest seasonal menu. Cortland apples in our guacamole. Pumpkin puree mixed right into masa for the ricotta tamal. The […]

A Spring in Our Step at Frontera Grill

The faintest hints of warmth are in the air and we’re all desperate to escape the bleak doldrums of the Chicago spring, which really is more like a late winter if we’re being honest. And yet! The Frontera team remains hard at work, making amazing use of seasonal ingredients and taking inspiration from their recent […]

Announcing: Catering by Fonda Frontera!

Fonda Frontera, our outpost in Wicker Park, has launched its BRAND NEW catering service, which is basically the best of its menu, delivered to your home, office or wherever else you want soul-satisfying Mexican food. A few of the highlights: • TACO BAR! With oven-braised or wood-grilled meats and fresh handmade corn tortillas. Think classics […]

Experience “Frontera Perfection”

Literally hundreds of dishes have been introduced in our kitchen since 1987. We can’t keep them all of course, but what we can do is pick the best of the bunch. That’s exactly what Frontera’s latest menu is, a roundup of sorts showcasing the very best versions of iconic dishes we’ve served over the years. […]

Explore Topolo’s New Menu – “Mexico: Taste & Time”

A well-known fact: In order to know someone intimately you must eat their food. But tastes are not static. Cuisine is ever-evolving. Flavors change over time. This menu invites you to get to know Mexico intimately over the last 500 years, from Aztec days, through its Spanish domination and evolving independence, to today’s modern kitchen. […]

Frontera’s Late Summer Menu is Full of Seasonal Surprises

Like so many of Frontera’s guests over the years, let’s start with the guacamole. Specifically, let’s talk about our “summer guacamole,” topped with a spectacular array of additions from local farms: cubes of compressed (that’s super-flavorful) watermelon, crisp cucumber, cooling mint and floral habanero chile. It’s a dish that’s indicative of the late summer harvest […]

Frontera’s New Menu: Mexico City Inspiration

“After suffering the doldrums of the Chicago winter, we finally have something green coming out of the ground,” said Chef de Cuisine Richard James, admiring the garlicky goodness of the new grilled chicken in local ramp mojo dish before him. “We usually get really excited around here when ramps are available.” And how. It’s not […]

Frontera’s New Seasonal Menu is Mexican Magic

Seasonal summer touches are all over the new seasonal menu at Frontera Grill, and so is the Mexican inspiration. There they are in our new guacamole, packed with juicy strawberries and tropical, floral  habanero chiles; and again in the charred green tomatillo “milpero” salsa that tops our Garbanzo Bean Tlacoyos, a common snack in the […]

Frontera’s Summer Menu is a Family Affair

The dishes on Frontera’s latest seasonal summer menu have migrated from The Library (our private dining room) into the main dining room, but you might say they really originated in Veracruz. “A lot of these dishes are inspired by my family in Veracruz…this menu is a chance to showcase these dishes to a wider audience,” […]

Hola, Fonda Frontera

We heard you, Wicker Park. We’re leaving the Xoco Bistro name behind and evolving into Fonda Frontera, our Mexico City-inspired neighborhood restaurant. “Like the fondas in Mexico City — those homey places serving classic, local food — ours is warm and comfortable, and embodies the essence of Frontera: Mexican spirit, local heart,” said Chef Rick Bayless. [...]

It’s Christmas at Frontera!

An extra dessert here, a Champagne toast there. The holiday spirit is in abundance at Frontera. And it is pure magic. Our chef team has added quite a few new seasonal dishes to spread the cheer. Check them out above. Or, way better, make a reservation and spend a little bit of your holidays with […]

Mexicali Sweet-Sour Duck

  Stephen Sandoval, one of the restaurant’s opening line cooks, is now a chef at Leña Brava. Stephen grew up in San Diego, and his father owned a car wash in Tijuana.  The first dish Stephen has on the Leña menu is a sense memory of duck hunting with his dad in Mexicali.  They would bring their catch to […]

Now at Topolobampo: The Yucatán Tasting Menu

Mexico’s Yucatán is the land of contrasts. There are the inspiring aisles of Valladolid’s market full of native ingredients sold by folks whose ancestry is deeply rooted in the jungle-y terrain. Just miles away are world-class chefs like Jonatan Gomez Luna at Le Chique spinning modernist creations… yet infusing them with the ancient Mayan charred chile seasoning [...]

Presenting the 2017 “Art Menu”at Topolobampo

I think we can all agree: Food can make us feel good. It can make us feel comforted, too. Or nostalgic. Or giddy with pleasure and desire. Or even a little uncertain. Sometimes I feel surprised, even shocked, by what I taste. Art can evoke feelings, too, of course, whether it’s in the form of […]

Presenting the Topolo Art Menu 2016

I think we can all agree: Food can make us feel good. It can make us feel comforted, too. Or nostalgic. Or giddy with pleasure and desire. Or even a little uncertain. Sometimes I feel surprised, even shocked, by what I taste. Art can evoke feelings, too, of course, whether it’s in the form of […]

Private Dining & Catering

There are many options for private dining at Frontera and Topolobampo: The intimate Library Room (for a private Topolo experience), the festive Morales Room (for a lively Frontera experience) and the brand new La Vista (for a laid-back experience).  And don't forget about your  room—or whatever room it is you'd like us to set up our catering [...]

Topolo Takes You To “Mexico City, 1491”

  In 1492 the first Europeans set foot on New World soil and changed the course of history. They brought guns and horses, new languages and diseases, and, of course, a host of ingredients that quickly found their way into the kitchen. Before their arrival, indigenous ingredients had been woven into unique flavors for millennia. […]

Topolo’s Stunning New Menu: Chicago’s Winter Bounty

No one believes it (certainly no one expects it): a luxurious menu of local the Chicago. Still, the deliciousness that unfolds on this menu celebrates joyously that it can be done. In fact, Chicago cooks a century ago wouldn't have understood what the fuss was about. They cooked with local ingredients all winter [...]

Update: We’re Back Open After the Deep Freeze!

UPDATE II:  We’re back open! All Frontera restaurants are open and serving lovingly prepared Mexican food.  UPDATE: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Cruz Blanca will remain CLOSED during lunch service on Thursday, Jan. 31. Those restaurants, along with Leña Brava and Bar Sótano, will all be open 5 p.m. Thursday. We apologize for any inconvenience […]

XOCO Brings Maya to the Midwest

This month, XOCO is all about bringing you flavors of the Yucatán with Midwest ingredients. “These are refreshing and bright flavors, especially in the hot days of July,” says Chef Wil Bravo. Take the escabeche salad, highlighting our house made recado blanco seasoning, a classic spice paste from the Yucatán. The seasoning does double duty: it’s […]

XOCO Celebrates Summer Nights!

Summer’s here and the time is right for XOCO in the streets! Our new seasonal menu includes the outrageously good Chicken Carnitas Torta made with smoked tomatillo-avocado-green garlic salsa, pickled red onion, chile güero, arugula and black beans.   The seasonal theme continues with our Local Asparagus Caldo, a bright, green broth filled with thinly sliced […]

XOCO is Full of Homey Holiday Happenings

It’s downright magical in Chicago. A chill has moved into the air as the city’s holiday lights begin to twinkle. And while our minds are focused squarely on the holiday season, we still gotta eat. Here at XOCO we are (literally) ready to deliver you our latest seasonal menu, one that features a wonderful array of […]

Xoco Pop-Up Brewery Dinners: ‘Oh, What Fun’

When Xoco announced the first of its pop-up dinners at our favorite Chicago breweries, we didn’t exactly know what to expect. OK, that’s a huge lie. We had a pretty good idea that eating spicy Yucatecan tacos and drinking fresh draft beer in the confines of Half Acre’s handsomely appointed tap room would be a […]

XOCO Proves There’s Beauty in Simplicity

The days are still hot, yet there’s the faintest hint of autumn in the air. Around here, that means it’s harvest season for local produce — and our chefs are making the most of it with Xoco’s seasonal menu items. Inspired by his own home garden and farmers’ markets, Chef Julio De Leon has made a Yucatecan […]

XOCO Starts the New Year Happy and Hearty

Our resolution is all about you. We want you to eat well in 2017, so our chefs have been hard at work creating a seasonal menu that reflects the potential and promise associated with a new year. Speaking of potential, Rafael, one of our amazing prep cooks, absolutely nailed it when he contributed his recipe […]

XOCO Welcomes Spring!

When we look through our big windows onto busy Clark Street, we’re starting to see everyone walking with a little more bounce in their step. Everyone’s still wearing jackets, mind you, but the sun is making its triumphant return and the days are getting a bit longer. Our chefs wanted to create a menu that […]

Xoco’s Real Deal Tacos Al Pastor

That chill in the air…the whiff of smoke…it can only mean one thing: it’s Tacos Al Pastor season at Xoco! Every Wednesday night starting at 5PM, at Xoco River North AND Xoco Wicker Park, our chefs layer sustainably raised, red chile-marinated pork on a spit, building a trompo, that turns in front of charcoal-fire.  The trompo’s funnel shape means […]