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Frontera Grill

View Map445 N. Clark St., Chicago
Tel: (312) 661-1434
View Website
Details Find What Else Is Nearby Frontera Grill User Reviews

Editorial Review of Frontera Grill

Frontera's whimsical front.
Rick Bayless is Chicago's original celebrity chef, and Frontera Grill, opened in 1987, is the venue that launched countless cookbooks, a TV show, salsas, frozen pizzas and a foundation that supports local family farms. Still, folks line up on Clark Street for a chance to sample the rustic, earthy moles and fresh corn, perfumed masa tortillas as if Frontera was the hottest new restaurant blowing through the Windy City.

Unless you've got a party of five or greater, the place won't take reservations, so any visit will usually start with a lengthy wait at the front bar. Resting under a blue, ceramic arch, with a herd of paper-mache animals hanging from the ceiling, the bar offers a festive start to the evening. There's also a group of Tim Burtonesque, upside-down lampshades hanging over the bar, but after a few rounds of limey Topolo margaritas, they'll feel like they're right-side-up, and your long wait will be over.

The dining room is a simple rustic box with maple-wood-backed chairs, sun-faded, adobe-clad surfaces, yellow and orange pastel-colored walls, and bright, Mexican-style paintings. This is a restaurant so committed to seasonality and local farm produce that long-time chef Tracey Vowell left last year to farm huitlacoche, a tasty, inky corn fungus that's often called the Mexican black truffle. No matter, her replacement Bryan Enyart produces incredible fare, including fluffy, half-moon goat-cheese-stuffed empanadas, garlic-marinated and grill-roasted Maple Creek pork with tomatillo-Anaheim chile sauce and smoky chipotle-glazed sea scallops with red peanut mole. Appetizers range from $3-$24, and entrees $15.50-28.50.

Average cost: $21-$30

Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant

User Reviews

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Hours

lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; brunch: 10:30-2:30 Saturday; dinner: 5:20-10 p.m. Tuesday; 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; closed Sunday-Monday

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