Rick Bayless opened this homage to Mexican street food right next door to his other restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, so that he could seamlessly shuffle between the three. That might eventually work out, but for now he may end up spending the majority of his time behind the counter at XOCO helping his team keep up with the insane demand. Although it’s only been open for just over a week now, this place already sports lines that regularly snake out the door and down the block. Everyone seems perfectly content to wait forever for the wood-burning-oven-cooked tortas: slow-cooked fillings like carnitas or barbacoa sandwiched between fabulous, crusty bread. And after indulging in a couple of those sandwiches myself—not to mention freshly fried churros, and hot chocolate made daily from raw cocoa beans—I can’t say I blame them.
XOCO 449 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL. (312-334-3688; rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco)